y.'JBBBU .o* ,.../ iVuL^^ ** i
PUB LIC AND PR iv ATE
public anfc private*
I ARBOR |
Presented to the
LIBRARY of the
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
public anb private
SOCIETY AT LARGE, THE ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS^
THE BALL-ROOM, THE DINNER-TABLE,
THE TOILET, &c. &>c.
H flew an& tRevfeefc EMtion
FREDERICK WARNE AND CO.
AND NEW YORK
Etiquette for Gentlemen.
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD MANNERS.
HIGH birth and good breeding are the privileges of the few, but
the habits and manners of a gentleman may be acquired by all.
It is of no use to assert that their acquisition is attended with
little difficulty, for a perfect manner in society is the result of a
succession of small sacrifices. No one can be perfectly well-
mannered who is selfish, and even the minor virtue of punctuality
can only be attained at the expense of pleasure.
Etiquette is not to be learnt from association with men ; it is
woman who creates society. Just as the height of a stage of
civilization can always be measured by the amount of deference
which is paid to women, so the culture of a particular man
can be gauged by his manner when in company with ladies.
Primitive men used to gather round the food which they had
won in the chase, and throw the bones over their shoulders
to the women, who sat outside the circle. Primitive men made
the women do all the hard work, and gave them all the heavy
burdens to carry. Civilized man, on the contrary, gives pre-
cedence to woman in every particular ; he does not eat himself
till she is served, he is careful to give her the best place at an
entertainment, he lets her walk on the inside of the path, and
opens the door for her when she is leaving the room. Woman
was wise in forming society, for these small observances not
only conduce to her own comfort, but are highly beneficial to
the character of the man, who would without them become
rough and selfish.
It is in the society of ladies that a man's manners are formed ;
but the effect of them is felt wherever he goes. The polish
which he acquires in the drawing-room he will carry with him
unconsciously into the smoking-room of the club, and good
manners are never out of place anywhere, but have their effect
38 ETIQUETTE FOR GENTLEMEN.
wherever they are found. Home training is of the greatest
importance. A wise mother will endeavour to train her boys
in nice habits from the first ; she will teach them to defer to
their little sisters, to take off their hats when they meet a lady, to
hand round cakes at afternoon tea, or to change the plates at
lunch. When a boy gets older he should take his sisters to any
place where they need an escort, and he should not think it
manly to protest against doing so, as an encroachment on his
time, but should consider it simply as a duty which it behoves
him to perform, and which it is ungentlemanly to execute
ungraciously. A man who is always in the company of his
own sex may be voted an uncommonly good fellow in the club
smoking-room, but he will never be welcome in a lady's
drawing-room if he be deficient in the performance of those
small observances on which women set great store.
The youth who is launched upon the world without the
advantages of a good home-training, is placed at a sad disad-
vantage to start with. He will often give offence without
intending it, and cause embarrassment when he means to please.
And the laws of etiquette are like the laws of England every
one is supposed to know them, and is punished if he does
anything to break them. For this reason it is proper for a man
to pay attention to acquiring the art of etiquette, and in one
way it is more requsite for him than it is for a woman, for a man
can never remain passive in society, but has a number of active
duties to perform. Neither can he pick up so many hints upon
demeanour as a woman can ; he has not the feminine gift of
seeing without appearing to look, of covering a mistake almost
before it is made. He has no eyes in the back of his head,
neither does he appear capable of carrying on a conversation
whilst taking in everything that is going on around him. Under
these circumstances it is plainly necessary that a man should
study etiquette ; he cannot imbibe the manners of society uncon-
sciously, so his best plan is to find out exactly what he has to
do. Grace should not be consciously attempted, but when ease
of manner is once obtained, grace is likely to follow.
The proverb which warns us against judging by appearances
can never have much weight in a civilized community. There,
appearance is inevitably the index of character. First impressions
must, in nine cases out of ten, be formed from it, and that is a
consideration of so much importance that no one can afford to
Personal appearance depends greatly on a careful toilet and
scrupulous attention to dress.
The first point which marks a gentlemanly appearance is
rigid cleanliness. There is no truer indication of a gentleman
than nicely kept hands and nails.
The hair and teeth should also receive the utmost attention.
Few things give a man a more finished appearance than a
smooth, well-groomed head the hair well brushed and glossy,
and cut close to the head not left long and cut in steps, so as
to look shaggy and irregular.
When a moustache is worn, pains should be taken to keep it
neat and trim. Beards have gone out of fashion, so there is
little occasion to descant upon the trouble they require ; nobody
now should wear a beard unless he have a preternaturally ugly
mouth and chin. If whiskers are worn they should be kept as
short as possible, any undue luxuriance in this direction giving
a man a curious and old-fashioned appearance.
Clothes should be carefully disposed when not in wear, and
never thrown do\vn carelessly, because they are certain to become
creased. Coats require to be continually brushed, and any
little spot that may fall upon them should instantly be removed
with benzine collas. It is better to keep a number of boots in
wear, as they will only keep in shape by being put on trees.
Men who are really careful of their appearance never wear the
same pair of boots two days running ; they last so much longer
if you can sometimes give them a rest, and keep their shape
Boots should always be carefully brushed, and a greasy neck-
tie is the unpardonable sin.
Gloves should be nice, but not too nice. A dark tan glove
40 ETIQUETTE FOR GENTLEMEN.
always looks well in a man's hand, but there is too much of a
suggestion of a linendraper's shopman about spotless lavender
It is a foolish affectation for a man to rail against wearing what
is the fashion, since what everybody else is wearing is certain to
look right. Old gentlemen look best in the fashions of their
youth, but a young man had better follow the fashions of the
There is a happy medium to be observed, however, between
being over-dressed and under-dressed. All such exaggerated
styles as mark the would-be swell should be rigorously avoided.
To look like an animated figure out of a tailor's show-card is the
ambition of a shop-boy, not a gentleman.
Morning attire admits of great variety in style. The dark
frock-coat or morning coat are equally correct, in conjunction
with a white or black waistcoat and grey trousers. Dark
trousers may of course be substituted in the winter.
In the country or by the seaside, or when travelling, a more
neglige style is permissible. The tweed or serge suit may then
be worn, the colour light or dark, according to taste.
When in town you must always wear a high hat. Every
shaft of ridicule has been urged against it in vain. It is costly,
it is heavy, it is unpicturesque and stiff-looking ; but nevertheless
it has this one merit in its favour that it makes a man look
like a gentleman. In the country, however, a high hat looks
ridiculous, and would only be worn by a snob.
You should always wear gloves when in town, particularly
when paying calls. There is no occasion to have them over
large, but they had better be too large than too small. A man's
hand looks foolish squeezed into a tight glove.
In the morning dress above described, a man may go any-
where. For the park, the streets, the matinee, the flower-show,
he is properly equipped.
With regard to what he should wear in the after-part of the
day, there is no possibility for uncertainty. Ordinary evening
costume consists of a black dress coat, black waistcoat and
trousers, white tie, patent leather shoes, and white kid gloves.
The only variations permissible consist of a white waistcoat
(which looks very nice, and gives a certain amount of relief to
the costume), with a silk handkerchief tucked into the left-hand
With regard to ornament, it can hardly be too quiet. If you
are not certain of your taste, it is better to wear no jewellery at
all. A scarf-pin should be plain and neat, good of its kind, but
not too fanciful in shape. As a general rule, the less jewellery a
man wears the better; but a signet- ring is allowable. A little
play of fancy may be exercised with regard to studs for evening
dress ; they should not be too large, but may be choice and
well-designed. Diamonds, plain gold, or gold and enamel, may
be worn ; and there is no objection to your having gold buttons
to your white waistcoat should you fancy them.
Few things are more puzzling to the neophyte than to be
certain when he should wear evening dress and when he should
not. In reality it is a matter which there should never be any
doubt about, for it is already settled for him by a very trivial
circumstance. An aristocratic-looking man, taking shelter in
a 'bus on account of the weather, found himself seated by
the side of a poor woman. It had come on to rain suddenly,
and the woman, looking at the gentleman, very civilly remarked,
"It's come on very wet, sir, hasn't it, since tea-time?" To
this woman tea was a meal, and tea-time an event of the day.
Now, what tea was to this poor woman dinner is to the civilized
world. People are supposed to dress for dinner, and wherever
they go afterwards they are naturally still in evening dress. The
dinner-hour is a landmark which effectually divides the two
portions of the day, and it must always be taken as a guide by
those who are in any doubt about their dress.
INTRODUCTIONS, AND LETTERS OF
In society much depends on what are called introductions.
These are either personal, or made by letter. In either case
they involve responsibility, and should not be ventured on with-
First, as to personal introductions. The rule is, that you
should always ascertain beforehand whether it is agreeable to
42 ETIQUETTE FOR GENTLEMEN.
persons to be introduced ; but as this is impracticable in many
cases, the rule may be exceptionally infringed ; but in this case
care and judgment must be exercised, and the person intro-
ducing incurs additional responsibility.
If a lady wishes to know a gentleman you have a right to infer
that the latter will not decline the honour, and the same thing
holds good with regard to a superior and inferior.
The inferior is introduced to the superior.
Thus, you introduce a gentleman to a lady, a commoner to a
lord. The ceremony is this : You say with a slight bow to the
person you are addressing, "Will your lordship permit me to
introduce Mr. Dash?" or "Mrs. Hyphen, will you allow me
to introduce Mr. Colon to you ?" Then the person addressed
bows to the one introduced, who also bows, and you can then
retire. Where several persons are introduced to one it is suffi-
cient to repeat their names without repeating that of the superior
Persons do not shake hands when introduced, but simply bow.
The solitary exception to the rule consists in the case of a
hostess. A lady should shake hands with people in her own
house, because that is a way of making them welcome.
Persons meeting at the houses of friends when making after-
noon calls, need not be introduced to each other, and certainly
should not be, unless it is known that such introductions will be
Nor should persons who have accidentally met in this manner,
without being introduced, bow, or in any way express recogni-
tion, should they afterwards meet.
If, when walking in the street with a friend you meet another
acquaintance, it is not necessary to introduce them. If, how-
ever, you meet a lady who evinces a desire to stop and speak,
your friend should stop with you, and may be introduced if you
consider it desirable ; but such introduction does not warrant
him in considering himself the lady's acquaintance.
It is the same with an introduction at a ball. A lady is not in
any way bound to bow to you next day because she has danced
with you the evening before.
Relations may be introduced to a friend casually met, without
ceremony or hesitation.
LETTERS OF INTRODUCTION. 43
Letters of introduction are often of great value ; but you
should exercise great caution in giving them. Never do so
unless both the person to whom they are addressed and the
person in whose favour they are written are your friends, and not
mere acquaintances. Even then you ought to consider whether
the introduction is likely to be agreeable to both.
Word the letter in a brief but careful form ; unless there are
special circumstances in the case, merely state that the person
introduced is a friend of yours, visiting town or country, as the
case may be, and that you trust your friend will show him any
attention in his power.
A letter of this kind should always be left open, so that the
gentleman presenting it may read it if he pleases. It is best
that he should close the envelope before leaving or sending it.
If the letter of introduction is of a business nature, the person
named in it may take it 'himself to the individual to whom it is
An ordinary letter of introduction should either be left at a
house or sent by post ; in the former case it should be accom-
panied by the card of the person named in them. No one should
present his own letter of introduction, as it places him in a very
undignified position to wait while his merits are being rehearsed in
the family circle, or by his friend's friend ; while the latter is placed
in the embarrassing position of being obliged to receive the
stranger courteously, whether it is agreeable to him or other-
Having received a letter of introduction, give it immediate
attention. Either write to the person introduced or call on him
the next day ; and he, on his part, should return your attentions
within a week. The correct thing is to invite the stranger to
dinner, and in that case it is well to ask some of your friends to
meet him, as this is giving him a further introduction to society.
Where this is impracticable, it may still be possible to show him
some courtesy, such as inviting him to accompany you to
some concert or entertainment and, if possible, it should be
something choice or interesting something which he would not
have had without your intervention.
44 ETIQUETTE FOR GENTLEMEN.
CARDS AND VISITING.
Leaving cards and paying calls are acts of courtesy which
occupy a recognized portion of the daily routine of a gentleman's
A gentleman's card should be small, thin, and unglazed. It
should simply bear his name, preceded by "Mr.," as, for
example, "Mr. George Dash." If his address be printed
beneath it, it is always on the left-hand side. If a club address
is added, it should be placed on the right, opposite the ordinary
The title, " The Honourable," is always omitted from a card.
The hours for visiting are, strictly speaking, between 2.30
If your object is only to leave cards, simply inquire after the
health of the family, and leave. A gentleman should make a
point of leaving his card after every entertainment at which he
has been present. If he calls before leaving town, P.P.C.
(pour prendre conge] may be inserted.
There are occasions, however, on which it is not enough
simply to leave a card, and then a call must be made ; for in-
stance, after a dinner party or reception. In either case, call
within a week.
Some little time since it was the fashion for a gentleman to
send up his card before entering the drawing-room. At present,
the exact contrary is the case, and he leaves his card on the hall
table at the conclusion of his visit. The servant precedes him
to the drawing-room door, to show him the way, and pauses
outside the door to ask his name. The visitor replies, "Mr.
Smith," or " Mr. John Smith," as the case may be, and the
servant throws the door wide open, and announces the name
Never omit the prefix when giving your name to a servant, or
use any additional words when doing so. Be careful not to
smell of tobacco-smoke, and never take a dog into a drawing-
room. An umbrella should always be left in the hall, but this
does not apply to your hat or cane, which should be held in
the hand during the visit. Never deposit them on a table or
Other article of furniture ; it is correct that you should hold
them. It seems a ridiculous fashion at first sight, but is pro-
bably a survival of the idea that a gentleman is only admitted
to a lady's drawing-room on sufferance, and is not settling down
as though he were at home.
If you are introduced to other callers, who may happen to be
present, you should enter into conversation with them at once.
It would be very rude if you were merely to bow, and then con-
tinue your conversation with the mistress of the house. If other
visitors arrive after you have made your appearance, do not
appear embarrassed ; wait for a reasonable time after they are
seated, then rise to take your leave, bowing to the other visitors
as you do so.
Formal visits should never be protracted beyond twenty
minutes. Do not take leave at an awkward moment ; wait lor
a lull in the conversation, and avail yourself of it.
As all invitations (with one exception only) are issued in the
name of the lady of the house, the gentleman's duty in respect
to them is almost confined to accepting or declining.
On receiving an invitation to a dinner or reception, reply
within a day or two at latest.
Write your reply on white note-paper of the best quality.
If the invitation is written in the third person, you will adopt
the same style in replying.
If you accept, use some such form as the following :
" Mr. Dash has great pleasure in accepting Mrs. Asterisk's
invitation for Wednesday evening, January the loth."
If it is a dinner invitation, in place of "invitation for Wednes-
day evening, say "invitation to dinner on the loth inst."
A reason need not necessarily be stated when an invitation is
declined. Etiquette is not so rigorous on this point as formerly,
but the old fashion is more courteous than the new.
The reader, then, can take his choice of the two following
forms : He can either say,
" Mr. Dash regrets to decline Mrs. Asterisk's kind invitation
for the loth inst." Or,
" Mr. Dash regrets that, owing to a previous engagement, he is
46 ETIQUETTE FOR GENTLEMEN.
unable to have the pleasure of accepting Mrs. Asterisk's kind
invitation for Wednesday next."
On no account neglect to give immediate attention to invita-
tions ; any want of courtesy in this respect is unpardonable.
RIDING AND DRIVING.
The etiquette of riding is simple but important. Remember
that your left when in the saddle is called the near side, and your
right the off side, and that you always mount on the near side.
In doing this, put your left foot into the stirrup, your left hand
on the saddle, then take a spring and throw your right leg over
the animal's back. Remember also that the rule of the road
both in riding and driving is that you keep to the left, or near
side, in meeting ; and to the right, or off side, in passing. In
riding alone a gentleman does not require to be attended by a
Never appear in public on horseback unless you have mastered
the difficulties attending a first appearance in the saddle, which
you should do at a riding-school. A novice makes an exhibition
of himself, and brings ridicule on his friends. Having got a
"seat" by a little practice, bear in mind the advice conveyed in
the old rhyme :
" Keep up your head and your heart,
Your hands and your heels keep down,
Press your knees close to your horse's sides,
And your elbows close to your own."
This may be called the whole art of riding in one lesson.
In riding with ladies, recollect that it is your duty to see them
in their saddles before you mount. And the assistance they
require must not be rendered by a groom ; you must assist them
The lady will place herself on the near side of the horse, her
skirt gathered up in her left hand, her right on the pommel,
keeping her face toward the horse's head. You stand at its
shoulder, facing her, and stooping, hold your hand so that she
may place her left foot in it ; then lift it as she springs so as to
^id her in taking her seat on the saddle. Next put her foot in
the stirrup, and smooth the skirt of her habit. Then you are at
liberty to mount yourself.
Keep to the right of the lady or ladies riding with you, and
open all gates that they may have to pass through.
If you meet friends on horseback, do not turn back with
them ; if you overtake them do not thrust your company upon
them. If you are on horseback, and meet a lady who is walking,
and with whom you wish to speak, dismount for that purpose,
and lead your horse. To talk to her from the saddle would be a
gross breach of good manners.
With regard to driving, it should be remembered that it is
vulgar to drive too fast.
If you enter a carriage with a lady, let her first take her place
on the seat facing the horses ; then sit opposite, and on no
account beside her, unless you are her husband or near relative.
Enter a carriage so that your back is towards the seat you are to
occupy, otherwise you will have to turn round in the carriage,
which is awkward. Take care not to step on the ladies' dresses,
or shut them in as you close the door.
When you have arrived at your destination you quit the
carriage first and hand the lady out.
As in some measure connected with this part of our subject,
we may say a few words respecting the hunting-field.
In respect of costume, it should follow the gentlemanly rule of
simplicity. Unless you are a regular member of a hunt, it is
better not to adopt the red coat, but to wear an ordinary riding-
coat of a dark colour ; in the same way some plain style of boot
is preferable to " tops."
You can hardly join a small meet without being acquainted
with some one connected with it. In some parts of the country
there are subscription meets, of which you may avail yourself
The rules to be observed in connection with walking are chiefly
in reference to meeting with friends.
Lifting the hat used once to be a most elaborate performance,
the result of much study, and the exponent of much grace.
The old-fashioned minuet has preserved the ancient form
48 ETIQUETTE FOR GENTLEMEN.
exactly. We all know with what a flourish the gentleman takes
off his hat in this dance, how gracefully he raises his arm, with
his eyes fixed upon his partner, and how he places his hand in
such a way that it never for a moment obscures his face. The
performance of this operation used to occupy several bars of
music, whereas the modern young man gets through it in a
couple of seconds.
There is very little scope for grace in any of the observances
of modern life ; the most one can expect of a man is that he
will not be gauche or awkward, even although his obeisance is
limited to swiftly withdrawing his hat and putting it on again,
rather as though he were putting a lid on a box.
A man should not walk absently along, looking for nobody.
A man of the world will have his eyes about him when he is in
a public promenade, and be ready to recognize his friends the
moment they appear.
Men do not necessarily bow to one another, they merely lift
their hats, unless it is to any one whom they desire to accost
with special deference. A man should never be in haste to give
his hand to his superior.
When you meet a lady with whom you are slightly acquainted
wait until she gives you some mark of recognition ; if she fail to
do so, pass on. Should she bow, lift your hat and slightly
bend. If you are smoking remove your cigar at once with
your disengaged hand t and throw it away if she stops to speak
However good the terms on which you may be with a
lady, never stop her, and never offer your hand ; she will
stop if she wishes to ; you raise your hat, and if it is agreeable
to her she will offer her hand. She, too, decides when the
conversation is to end. If, while speaking, she moves onward,
you should turn and accompany her ; if she makes a slight
inclination, as of dismissal, raise your hat, bow, and go your
It may be remarked in passing that the matter of salutation in
the street is one in which English etiquette is exactly the reverse
of foreign. In Germany the gentleman always bows first, his
hat flying off as if by instinct the moment a fair friend comes
In walking with a lady never permit her to encumber herself
with a book or parcel, but always offer to carry it. No one
smokes in town whilst walking with a lady, or anywhere at all
in her company without asking her permission.
The art of conversation is the most important social gift, but
there is no royal road for acquiring it, Many of the writers on
etiquette have got a little patent method of their own, and will
give you a list of subjects to be mastered, as though society were
a competitive examination which had to be read up for. They
will tell you to read up a little about art, whether you care for it
or not, to get a smattering of science, a slight knowledge of
politics, and to make yourself acquainted with the very last new
book through the medium of reviews. " A little knowledge on
a great many subjects," remarks one of these authorities, " may
easily be acquired by a diligent reader," apparently oblivious of
the proverbial dangers which are couched in that undesirable
consummation. It is difficult to imagine how any conversation
got up in this manner could ever be of interest to any human
being. Imagine the brainless chatter of a person talking for
hours on subjects in which he feels no interest, the details of
which he knows only just sufficiently to prevent him from making
palpable mistakes ! Reading is certainly an assistance to con-
versation, but not such frivolous reading as this. If a thing
does not interest von vi-~ cpcak of it, it is not likely to interest
^oGt wno listen.
' ' A well-educated gentleman may not know many languages
may not be able to speak any but his own may have read
very few books. But whatever language he knows he knows
precisely ; whatever word he pronounces he pronounces rightly ;
above all, he is learned in the peerage of words ; knows the
words of true descent and ancient blood at a glance from words
of modern canaille" *
You should endeavour to cultivate the habit of attention,
so that you are able to build upon the remarks of your com-
panion. You should be able to speak to strangers without
50 ETIQUETTE FOR GENTLEMEN.
being either too familiar or too diffident. Do not tell very long
stories of which you are yourself the hero, or discuss a number
of those domestic details which can only be interesting to your
near relations. Learned people are not always good conversa-
tionalists ; but a person of culture can do much, almost uncon-
sciously, to raise the tone of the conversation around him. You
should notice the things which interest other people, then you
will never be reduced to talking only of your own experiences.
Never drag in the names of distinguished persons to whom
you may be related, or who may be numbered among your
friends ; nothing is more vulgar and offensive. It is wrong to
boast of your own exploits, or to give illustrations of your own
prowess and sagacity.
Avoid whatever is personal in tone or allusion ; neither flatter
nor make observations of an offensive character. Do not indulge
in too much sarcasm an over-sharp tongue has lost many a
friend. An olive is good for promoting the appetite ; but no
one can make a dinner off olives. Do not speak in a loud voice,
or assume a dictatorial manner. If any statement is made
which you know to be untrue, be very careful of the manner in
which you correct the speaker. Never charge him with having
made a wilful mis-statement ; suggest a correction rather than
make it ; and if the point in question is immaterial, it is best to
let it pass unnoticed. Whilst you should be able to hold your
own in the company of men, it is all-important that you should
not quarrel with any one in the presence of ladies. If addressed
in an offensive manner in a drawing-room, it is best not to notice
it ; either pass it over for the time, or take an opportunity of
withdrawing. Such a thing as a " scene " is, above all things,
to be avoided.
Do not interlard your conversation with French. Avoid puns
and slang phrases as much as possible. Whether in the presence
of ladies or gentlemen, never indulge in strong expressions.
Be very careful not to interrupt a person while speaking, and
should he hesitate for a word never supply it.
Never whisper in company, and, above all, never converse in
any language with which all present are not familiar, unless, of
course, foreigners are present who only speak their own tongue,
with which you may happen to be acquainted. In that case
CORRESPONDENCE. 5 1
take care that, if possible, the company shall be apprised of
what is passing. Should a person enter the room in which you
are conversing, and the conversation be continued after his
arrival, it is only courteous to acquaint him with the nature of
the subject to which it relates, and to give him an idea of what
In conversing with either superiors or equals, do not address
them needlessly by name. In speaking of third persons, always
use the prefix, " Mr." or " Mrs." to their names ; do not refer
to them by their initials, as " Mr. and Mrs. B."
Correspondence is a point to which a gentleman should attach
special importance, because it is one by which others are sure to
form an estimate of his worth and pretensions.
It is impossible to get over the ill-effect produced by a badly
written, indifferently spelt, and unsightly letter.
Let your stationery be of good quality, your handwriting
plain, your style simple. Never indulge in flourishes, either
under your name or in any part of your letter. Sometimes,
when the rest of a man's handwriting is quite irreproachable,
the cloven hoof will appear in the signature. There is no reason
why your own name should be more bedecked with ornament
than the name of the person you are addressing.
Never omit to put your address and the date on which you
write ; and if it is a business letter or a very formal one, add the
name of the person addressed either at the top of the letter (at
the left-hand side, but lower than the address) or else at the
foot. If a letter is written in the third person, it is incorrect
to write the name at the top.
In a letter of business commence with "Sir" or "Madam."
In all other cases write "Dear" or "My dear," with " Sir" or
"Madam," or the proper name, according to the degree of
intimacy between yourself and your correspondent. To a lady
friend you write "Dear Mrs. " or " Dear Miss." Never on
any account write the possessive pronoun, except to your wife
or your Jiancte.
Formal letters used once to conclude, "I am," or "I have
52 ETIQUETTE FOR GENTLEMEN.
the honour to remain, your obedient servant." At present,
"Yours faithfully" meets nearly every case. To intimate
friends use some such form as " Very truly yours" or " Yours
Always reply promptly to a letter. Reply to a note of invi-
tation the day after you have received it. To a note on business
send an answer the same day. After accepting an invitation,
should anything occur to prevent your going, send a letter at
If you write upon business which is exclusively your own,
it is correct to enclose an addressed envelope for the answer.
If you write to request a favour, it is manifestly wrong to cause
any expense to the receiver of the letter, not even the cost of the
It is best to tear up letters when you have read them, or else
to keep them locked up. It is unfair to your correspondents
(especially if they be ladies) to allow their letters to lie about
opened, where any curious eye may see them.
Do not neglect your correspondents. It is foolish to begin
every letter with an apology. It is better to write in good time
than to waste half your letter on commonplace excuses.
The mistress of the house receives her guests in the drawing-
room, to which on your arrival at the house you will be shown.
If you are accompanying your wife or your sisters remain
outside the drawing-room door until they are ready, so that
they may enter the room under your protection. Do not give
your arm to either of the ladies, as it is not considered good
style ; let them slightly precede you, as they will be greeted
The interval before the arrival of dinner is apt to be rather a
trying one. At no time is conversation at such a low ebb
as just before dinner ; men are never at their best when hungry,
and even an experienced hostess has a certain amount of
anxiety on her mind on such an occasion. What a boon, then,
is the lively talker the practised diner-out ! He comes in with
a bright smile on his face and a stream of ready talk on his lips,
THE DINNER-TABLE. 53
animated and agreeable, and interesting to every one in the
room. Such a person is indeed invaluable to his hostess, and
she will grapple him to her heart with hooks of steel. Any
one can talk at dinner, but the person who will enliven the time
before the meal is as precious as a ray of winter sunshine.
On the arrival of the last guest dinner is announced, and the
master of the house will tell you either then or a little before-
hand what lady you are to take in. He himself offers his
arm to the lady of highest position present, the others follow,
the lady of the house bringing up the rear, escorted by the
person of highest rank amongst the gentlemen. A bride used
once to be allowed to take precedence on these occasions, but
this is a pretty custom which is fast dying out. It is hardly
necessary to say that, when their rank is equal, married ladies
take precedence of single ones in going in to dinner. The
superior in birth always takes precedence ; for instance, the
unmarried daughter of a nobleman takes precedence of any
married commoner. The names of the guests at a formal
dinner are generally written on cards and put at their allotted
places. At a friendly dinner name-cards are dispensed with,
but the master of the house indicates to the guests where they
are expected to sit, remaining standing in his place at the
bottom of the table until they are all seated.
A good deal of forethought is needed with regard to the
placing of the guests at table. Members of one family should
not be placed side by side, nor people who are not likely to
agree. The host places the lady he has brought in on his right-
hand side, and the gentleman who escorted the hostess is seated
at her right hand. The other gentlemen are invariably placed at
the left-hand side of the ladies whom they take in to dinner.
Do not seat yourself at table until the lady whom you have
escorted is first seated. She is to be your particular care
throughout the meal, and you must endeavour to beguile the
time with agreeable conversation. At dessert you should never
fill your glass without looking to see if your neighbour's needs
replenishing ; at the same time remembering that it is ill-bred
to press her to take anything she has once refused.
With regard to the arrangement of the courses there is very
little new to be remarked, One of the few novelties of recent
54 ETIQUETTE FOR GENTLEMEN.
times is the introduction of the fashion of hors-tfceuvres, which
appear before anything else, for the sake of stimulating the
appetite. A few oysters are sent round, if they are in season ;
or, if not, their place is taken by other appetising things, such as
prawns, anchovies, sardines, or olives. These are sometimes
placed on the table, so that the guests can help themselves, and
sometimes handed round by the servants.
After this, dinner takes its accustomed route, with little
deviation soup and fish, one or two entries, meat and game,
sweets, cheese, and dessert. A good deal of time is saved by
handing round the cheese in a tripartite dish. Cheese is placed
in one partition, butter in a second, and biscuits in the third.
By this means a guest has to wait for nothing, but helps himself
to everything at one time.
It is fitting that a few words should be said in this place
with regard to manners at table. Most of the instructions given
by etiquette-writers on this head appear to be far too elementary.
To tell a person not to throw his coffee over his shirt-front, nor
to masticate his food audibly, is little short of an insult to his
understanding. But there are various minor points which may
possibly not be thought of by persons unused to society ; so it is
for the benefit of these that the following remarks are penned.
Awkwardness at table is particularly unbecoming, and cannot
be as easily passed off there as anywhere else. Help yourself
quietly and neatly to such dishes as you partake of, and do
not be inattentive to the servants who are handing them.
Always use a fork only for any kind of entree which does not
require to be cut. When you seat yourself at table place
your table-napkin across your knees, and put your bread at the
left-hand side of your plate, because the right is occupied by
your wine-glasses. No one is served twice to soup or fish,
because that would keep every one waiting for the more sub-
stantial courses. When there is salad it is usual to eat it on a
second plate (generally of semi-circular form) placed at the left-
hand side of your dinner-plate. When the dessert is served a
finger-bowl on a d'oyley is put in each plate. Remove your
finger-bowl, and place it on the d'oyley, a little in front of
your plate towards the left-hand side. If you are helping a lady
to fruit at dessert, be sure to select the choicest in the dish.
RECEPTIONS, CONCERTS, AND THEATRES. 55
When you have finished your dinner leave your table-napkin
on your chair. Do not conscientiously fold it up as though
you were contemplating staying in the house of your enter-
tainer for the next six months. You never fold your table-
napkin unless you are staying in the house.
As before dinner so at the table itself, the most welcome
guest is he who contributes most in the way of conversation.
Bright talk at the dinner-table is of more value than the spark-
ling wines, than the rich viands, than the prettiest decoration,
that can be devised. A circle where all are sympathetic is sur^
to be enjoyable where there are no monopolists, and iic
After the conclusion of dessert the lady of the house ^ives the
signal for departure, and all the ladies troop towards the door,
the hostess going last. All the gentlemen rise, and remain
standing till the ladies have left the room, the gentleman nearest
the door holding it open for them.
When the ladies have returned to the drawing-room, coffee is
brought into the dining-room at once, at the same time that it is
sent to the ladies in the drawing-room. Well-bred men do not
sit too long over their wine, but are pleased to return to the
drawing-room to make themselves agreeable to the ladies of
Ladies always wear gloves at dinner-parties, gentlemen never.
They used to do so some years since, but the Prince of Wales
broke through what was certainly rather a silly custom.
RECEPTIONS, CONCERTS, AND THEATRES.
Evening dress is always considered de rigueur for gentlemen
at any kind of evening entertainment, with the exception of a
Always pay your respects to the hostess before recognizing
your friends. If you chance to meet acquaintances in your way
across the room, you may accost them, but do not stop and enter
into conversation with any one until the hostess has been greeted.
At a large ball, the lady of the house stands at the head of the
staircase, or just inside the drawing-room door, so that she can
be easily found by the guests directly on their arrival. At smaller
56 ETIQUETTE FOR GENTLEMEN.
parties the hostess will be always found inside the room, and
(at any rate, during the first part of the evening) not far off from
If the lady of the house asks you to play or sing (she alone has
the privilege), and you have musical talents, comply at once ;
if, on the other hand, you have neither talents nor skill, on no
account make an exhibition of yourself. A little playing or
singing does not go far in these days of universal musical know-
A guest should always be ready to do anything which will
make the party pass off more pleasantly. The young man who
leans against the door-post half the evening, or stands before
the fireplace as though the hearth-rug were an island and to
venture off it was to plunge into the ocean such a man may be
a shining light in a club, but he will never be of the slightest use
in a lady's drawing-room. Men do not go into society to talk
to one another, but to make themselves generally agreeable.
Concerts and private theatricals may be bracketed together.
The etiquette of both is very simple. If you are escorting a party
of ladies, precede them into the room and conduct them to their
seats. It may be mentioned as a general rule that a gentleman
goes before a lady in ascending the stairs and follows her in
descending, unless there is space for them to walk side by side.
In ascending or descending stairs always keep to the right-hand
side. See that the ladies have the best places available, and
procure programmes for them. At a concert, whether it is
public or private, do not make yourself too noticeable in the
way you express your approval or disapprobation. At amateur
theatricals never express disapproval, but do your best to endure
them with patience.
A gentleman's behaviour should always be calm and unob-
trusive at the theatre. He should listen quietly, so that others
may also listen with pleasure. Talking during the performance
is unpardonable ; laughing and whispering equally so.
There are a good many young men who think it fine to
appear bored when at the theatre, and who lend an inattentive
eye and ear to the actors who are trying to entertain them. To
such young men we would commend the example of Royalty at
the play. The highest gentleman in the land is a great theatre*
PUBLIC MEETINGS. 57
goer, and has seen the best of acting in every capital. Never
does any one see him looking bored ; he gives the closest atten-
tion to the play and seems thoroughly to enjoy what is going on.
Ordinary people cannot do better than follow his example, for
there is a courtesy due to the actors who are playing, and if
one does not want to hear them it is better to stay away.
As gentlemen are often called upon to attend public meetings,
it m^y be as well to add a word or two on that subject. Meet-
ings are of two kinds. There are some, such as meetings of
companies, charities, and public bodies, in which the proceed-
ings are of a merely formal character, and the programme is
arranged beforehand. There are also what are more properly
termed "public meetings," in which the business is arranged by
the chairman, who is elected by the meeting at the commence-
ment of the proceedings. In the former case, the speeches are
arranged previously, the several resolutions being placed in the
hands of the gentlemen who are requested to propose and second
them. It is competent to any gentleman present to move an
amendment to any of the resolutions proposed, but he should not
interfere with the order of the meeting on some merely frivolous
At a public meeting the chairman selects the movers and
seconders of the resolutions ; but it is quite open to any person
present to move or second as many amendments as they may
think proper. When amendments are proposed, the last amend-
ment is first put from the chair. Should that not be carried, the
one preceding it is put, and so on, the resolution being submitted
last. Should either of the amendments be carried, the original
resolution is submitted as a matter of form, and is, of course,
negatived ; the amendment is then put as a substantive resolu-
tion, and on that the decision of the meeting is finally taken.
Motions of adjournment are not spoken to, but are put imme-
diately on being moved. We need not say that it is exceedingly
ungentlemanly to interrupt speakers who are addressing a meet-
ing, and that all present should do their utmost to support the
authority of the chair. The business always terminates with a
58 ETIQUETTE FOR GENTLEMEN.
vote of thanks to the chairman, which it is competent to any
gentleman present to propose.
The most enjoyable picnics ire those which are got up im-
promptu, and where formality is almost entirely discarded.
If it is an invitation picnic, it should not be planned too long
beforehand, on account of the weather.
Always transport your guests to the scene of action in car-
riages which are capable of being shut up on occasion, in order
that you may be provided against rain.
Send a separate conveyance, containing the provisions, in
charge of two or three servants not too many, as half the fun
is lost if the gentlemen do not officiate as waiters.
Great latitude in dress is allowed on these occasions. The
ladies come in morning dresses, the gentlemen in light coats and
After dinner, the time can be passed in singing or dancing or
in exploring the walks of the locality.
Sometimes the company breaks up into little knots and
coteries, each having its own centre of amusement. Each
gentleman should endeavour to do his utmost to be amusing
on these occasions. If he has a musical instrument it will
be good-natured to bring it, though we cannot agree with an
enthusiastic writer, who remarks, a propos of this subject, that
a cornet is a great boon, when well played, at a picnic ; for we
feel doubtful whether a cornet is a great boon anywhere out
of an orchestra. A guitar or a flute sounds well in the open
air, though the zither is the queen of open-air instruments.
The guests should be careful to gather at the meeting-place at
the time appointed for leaving, for many a pleasant party of this
kind has been spoiled by a few selfish people keeping out of the
way when they are wanted. They not only inconvenience the
rest of the company, but are guilty of great want of politeness
in keeping the driver waiting and the horses standing in the
It is always well on these occasions to have each depart-
ment vested in the hands of one responsible person, in order
that when we begin dinner we should not find a heap of
forks but no knives, beef but no mustard, lobsters and lettuces
but no salad-dressing, veal and ham pies but no bread, beer
and no tumblers, and nearly fifty other such contretemps, which
are sure to come about unless the matter is properly looked after
The reader may doubtless be surprised that we should treat
of etiquette when speaking of boating, but still there are little
customs and usages of politeness to be observed even in the
roughest sports in which an Englishman takes part.
Never think of venturing out with ladies alone unless you
are perfectly conversant with the management of a boat, and,
above all, never overload your boat. Accidents have been
caused by the neglect of these two rules.
If two gentlemen are of the party, let one take his stand
in the boat and conduct the ladies to their seats, whilst one
assists them to step from the bank. Let the ladies be com-
fortably seated before starting.
If a friend is with you and going to row, always ask him
which seat he prefers, and do not forget to ask him to row
" stroke," which is always the seat of honour in the boat.
If you cannot row do not scruple to say so, as then you can
take your seat by the side of the ladies and endeavour to make
yourself agreeable, which is much better than spoiling your own
pleasure and that of others by attempting what you know you
It is well, however, for a man to cultivate all such exercises
as rowing or driving. A man is a far more useful member of
society when he is able to take an oar, instead of being towed
along like a log.
Especial care is required in passing through locks. Many
people have a dislike to them, and they should always be
allowed to land if they desire it, and return to the boat after
the rowers have taken her through. When more than one
boat enters a lock, the first boat takes the highest position,
and the others follow in proper succession taking care to keep
clear of one another. Any collision is unpardonable, and
60 ETIQUETTE FOR GENTLEMEN.
should it take place a courteous apology should at once be
Never allow a visitor to pay the toll at the locks, but, above
all, never think of venturing inside a lock unless you are
perfectly conversant with its nature, and the way the water
rises and falls, and unless you have a cool head and a strong
arm and are entirely at home in your boat.
A man usually wears a white flannel suit when rowing, and
a straw hat or flannel cap. Pea-jackets are worn when their
owners are not absolutely employed in rowing.
Of late ladies have taken very much to rowing, and they
find it a pleasurable and healthful exercise. Women, as a rule,
lead a far more sedentary life than men, and seldom have any
exercise which calls the muscles of the arms and shoulders into
play. Some years since women were hedged in with all sorts of
foolish restrictions. It was considered rather improper for them
to row, or to take part in any of the exercises which would have
rendered them strong and healthful like their brothers. At present
all these absurd restrictions are done away with, and tennis and
skating and many other similar pursuits are open to ladies, and
they can enjoy rowing in company with gentlemen, instead of
always being dragged about as if they were helpless burdens.
STAYING WITH FRIENDS.
When you go to see a friend at his country-house it is usual for
the invitation to be for a specified time. You should be careful
not to exceed this period, as he has probably other visitors to
succeed you, whose arrangements you will upset if you stay.
Ascertain as soon as possible the hours and habits of the family,
and always endeavour to conform to them . And though at many
country-houses the breakfast is on the table from nine till twelve,
you should endeavour to be down in moderate time, so that you
may be enabled to chat with your host and hostess.
Be careful about accepting invitations to other houses in the
neighbourhood, unless your host is invited too ; for you must
consider yourself his guest for the whole of the visit.
After breakfast the visitor should place himself at the disposal
of his host, and be ready to join in any party of pleasure that
MOURNING. 6 1
may be suggested. Or he can amuse himself by reading or
writing letters in the library, or by walking, riding, or shooting
with the other visitors anything is better than dangling about
the house doing nothing.
Be careful not to keep your entertainers up beyond their usual
hours. When the ladies retire for the evening it is customary
for some of the gentlemen to go into the smoking-room for a
chat, but you should not venture to do this unless it is proposed
by the host, or you know it is the custom of the house.
You should fee the servants when you leave the butler and
footman in a large establishment, the parlourmaid and house-
maid in a small one in fact, always fee any servant who has
waited on you personally. The cook is never fee'd, nor any
servant with whom you do not come directly into contact. With
regard to the amount, it is impossible to give any rule ; it depends
on the length of your stay, and the style of the establishment in
which you are staying. Some of the etiquette-writers will tell
you that it depends upon your means. This, unfortunately, is
not the case. If you associate with rich people you must do as
they do ; and it is better not to accept an invitation if you can-
not (for the time being) adapt your style of living to that of your
If you should come from the country to stay with friends in
town, the above rules will apply equally, but in a general way
London hours are later than those of the country.
Be careful never to outstay your welcome. Even if you were
to stay in a house for a year your host would say to you, ' ' I
hope you are not thinking of leaving us yet." This would be
only good manners on his part ; but you would be wrong to
take it literally. The neophyte must not be persuaded by any
such blandishments, but must be careful not to turn his visit into
The depth and duration of mourning is in proportion to your
relationship to the deceased. The present generation is not
quite so punctilious in this respect as the former one, and the
" habiliments of woe " are seldom worn very long. The times
62 ETIQUETTE FOR GENTLEMEN.
given below are the orthodox periods ; but the tendency of the
age goes towards shortening rather than extending them :
A widow wears mourning with crape for two years after her
husband's death, and plain black for another year still. Widows
caps are not as obligatory as formerly, and seldom worn by a
young person. Even the orthodox lawn cuffs are dying out,
and very soon there will be no demand for them at all.
A widow does not go into society until a year has elapsed.
Widowers would wear mourning for the same period.
Children would wear mourning for parents for at least a
twelvemonth, and the same would apply when the cases were
reversed. The mourning for grandparents lasts for nine
months, and that for a brother or sister from six to twelve.
The period of mourning for an aunt or uncle would be of three
months' duration ; for a first cousin, six weeks ; for a second
cousin, three. It is customary to put the servants in mourning
when there is a death in the family.
Memorial cards are never sent by people in good society.
If invited to the funeral of a person who is no relation to you,
you should go entirely in black, with moderate hat-band, and
You should call and leave a card to inquire after the bereaved
family about a week after the funeral.
When you receive a card returning thanks for kind inquiries,
you may call again, and on this occasion you will be expected
to go in and condole with the family. If you are an intimate
friend, adopt slight mourning on such an occasion.
Never break an appointment, but be punctual to the moment
in keeping it.
If you should be so unfortunate as to break anything at a
dinner-party, do not be too profuse in your apologies, because
that would distress your host and hostess.
Great tact is required in the matter of presents. To make
them to your superiors is an offence, while those inferior to you
in circumstances may resent a gift as a reflection on their want
of means ; but all these difficulties can be smoothed over by the
exercise of tact. The article given should be rare, rather than
costly ; if it have some association, or is the product of your own
talent, all the better.
Flowers may always be given with propriety.
Receive a present in the spirit in which it is given, and with a
quiet expression of thanks. Do not refuse a present unless
under peculiar circumstances which may, on mature reflection,
seem to justify you in so doing.
In walking with a lady in the street, English etiquette requires
that you should always give her the inside of the path, so that
she may not be jostled by passers-by, or suffer any inconvenience
from passing vehicles. Foreign etiquette, on the contrary, re-
quires simply that you should place the lady on your right hand,
and you would be considered very rude abroad were you to do
If you are in a crowd, and you and the lady are obliged to
walk singly, you should lead the way.
Never propose to a friend to join him in an excursion, or to
make one of a party at his house. It is for him to invite you,
and he may have reasons for not doing so.
Never laugh aloud nor whistle in any library or public room,
nor adopt a style of behaviour likely to be offensive to other
Do not smoke in the presence of ladies without their express
permission, and never monopolize the fire, take the easiest chair
in the room, nor loll on sofas, nor put your elbows on a table,
nor drum tunes with your fingers, nor indulge in any of those
minor vulgarities which may render you disagreeable to others.
Lastly, do not affect fine language ; speak in a simple,
straightforward manner, without pretence or affectation. Never
use a long word when a little one will do, and beware of any
expression of which you do not know the exact meaning.
Etiquette of Webofngs.
AT no other social event is etiquette so important as at a
wedding. Everything has to be done by rule, and there are a
number of little things to be thought of. Weddings come to every
household sooner or later, and the hostess is always anxious that
everything should be done in the right way. The bridegroom's
family is likely to be critical, and the mother of the bride is
naturally anxious that nothing shall occur which should look
like ignorance of social observances. The etiquette of weddings
is exceedingly conservative, but various innovations are intro-
duced from time to time ; some customs are dropped, and
others take their place, and nearly every season brings some
slight variation. So it is that whenever a wedding takes
place in a family the intimate friends of the bride are literally
besieged with questions concerning the etiquette to be observed
on the occasion, and if their own experience does not guide
them they are entreated to interrogate some other person who
moves in a circle of society higher than their own. Finally,
the bride flies to those harmless and benevolent people who
preside over the correspondence columns of weekly magazines
those unfortunate people who pass their lives in setting every-
body straight, and who are ungratefully suspected in return of
calmly sitting down and inventing both question and answer for
their private amusement. Now, a reliable handbook on the
subject would save a good deal of time and trouble at a time
when there is always plenty to do. It is not possible to antici-
pate every question which may arise, but the majority may easily
be imagined. It is in the hope of being useful to those who
are in need of a few practical hints, that this little volume is
All weddings are preceded by a period of courtship, just as
a noble house is approached by a beautiful avenue. The
lovers walk on beneath the shade of the trees, not knowing
to what dwelling it will lead them. They see their future life
before them as in a rosy vision ; they do not know what it will be
like, but they are certain it will be happy. The millennium is to
be inaugurated entirely for them ; they are never to quarrel or to
have a jarring word ; distress or discontent will be impossible to
them ; sickness or sorrow may not come near them. Their
dwelling is to be the prettiest and the happiest in the world, and
whatever else happens to them they will never fail in affec-
tionate courtesy for one another. Never will he be one of those
husbands whose relationship to their wives can be guessed by
their indifference ; never will she be one of those wives whose
smiles are given more readily to any one than to their own
husbands. Whatever happens they will be loyal and loving ;
and fate can have nothing very bad in store for them the while
they are together.
This is the roseate vision which befalls people once in a life-
time, and after they have experienced it, they can say that they
have lived. Older people may smile or weep, as suits them best,
at the dreams which are seldom realized. The young people
have the advantage of them, inasmuch as they are happy just
now, and to have been happy for a while is to be so much to the
good. A man never forgets the days of his courtship, though
he does not remember every detail with the fondness of a woman.
Edwin generally falls in love in a sort of unconscious way,
and he seldom knows he is in love until it is too late to go
back. Now Angelina knows it from the first, and can tell you
long afterwards the exact day and minute when she first thought
that Edwin cared for her, and how she smelt the lavender in
the garden as she let him out of the gale. Whether she loves
for better or worse, she does not forget these things, and they
remain locked up in her mind like the scent of gathered roses,
sweet to the end of time.
Courtship being so happy a time, it will seem absurd to hedge
it round with rules and observances. Nevertheless, at no other
66 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
time has a man more need to be careful in his manners than
when he is paying attention to the lady whom he desires to win.
Every one regards him with a critical eye, and any neglect or
mistake on his part will be readily noticed. A wise young lady
will judge for herself, and not be too readily influenced by the
opinions of others ; but even the most strong-minded person is
not proof against ridicule, and ridicule is fatal to love. Too
much anxiety and thought will not, however, make a man
appear at his best ; he is far more likely to succeed if he throws
all thoughts of self aside, and only thinks of the lady whom he
desires to please.
The word courtship has gone out of fashion of late, and is
rarely seen now out of the pages of an etiquette-book. Like
many other good expressions, it has been abandoned by polite
society only to be taken up by the lower classes, just as the
Court dress of one period becomes the peasant costume of the
next. Nevertheless, the old phrase, "he is courting her," more
exactly expresses the right attitude of mind of the lover than any
other word in our vocabulary. A man who really cares for a
woman will consider her wishes before everything else. His
attentions should be nothing less than devoted, yet he should
never endeavour to make her unpleasantly conspicuous. It is
not by extravagant protestations that a woman's favour is won,
but by such considerate and well-chosen attentions that show
that her tastes are noticed and remembered.
When a man seriously cares for a woman, he treats her with
increased respect. He will ne^er involve her in any doubtful
adventure, or show her letters to a third person. If she receive
his suit graciously, he must treat her with greater deference.
The more favourably a woman receives a man, the more should
his respect increase. His manner must be deferential as well as
his words ; and, in fact, he must in no degree abate the courtesy
which he used to show her before he was accepted. We doubt
whether it is in human nature for a man to be much in love with
\\v~>fiancte 's friends, but he must certainly behave as if he were.
He must try to interest himself in them for her sake, although
being in love is such a sublimely selfish condition that it is
difficult for a person to feel any secondary interest at such a
time, It has been estimated that if the whole human race fell
in love at one time, the whole of the world's work would stop.
There would be no one to reap the corn, or store it in the
granaries ; no one to grind the wheat, or to do anything whatever
that was useful and practical. Engrossing as the passion is,
however, a man should not let it make him selfish ; and,
however attached he may be to his lady-love, he must try to
pay her friends a proper amount of attention.
There is a reverse side to the medal for a man when his
affection is not acceptable to the object of his devotion. He
must not persecute her with his attentions, but retire as grace-
fully as he can. It is conceit on a man's part to consider a
refusal as an insult. He should be content to do his courting
on the chance of its being successful.
When a young lady first enters society she is nearly certain to
receive a great deal of attention from gentlemen. She may not,
as in ancient days, have knights anxious to wear her glove in
their helmets, or poets inditing sonnets to her eyebrow, but she
will meet with admiration from many young swains, all anxious
to win her smiles. She must remember, however, that all atten-
tions have not a serious object, and not be too hasty in thinking a
man intends making an offer until she has abundant proof of his
intentions. Some novelists assert that a woman looks on every
man she meets in the light of a possible suitor, but one would
fancy such an idea as this would hinder that frank and uncon-
scious bearing which ought to exist between the sexes.
It is very bad taste for a woman, of whatever age, to assert that
she cannot get on in ladies' society. Really nice women have
the interests of their own sex thoroughly at heart, and find that
many of their happiest moments proceed from the enjoyment
of a true and lasting friendship with some one of their own sex.
On the other hand, it is bad style to be rude and flippant
with men, as some young ladies appear to consider correct.
Very young men are often fait" from over-confident in society
and it is bad taste on a girl's part to make them feel awkward
and ill at ease.
Young ladies should be careful not to accept gifts from gentle-
men ; gloves are allowable when they are the result of a bet, but
otherwise it would be wrong to accept them. A young lady
may always accept flowers or books nearly all courtships
68 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
begin with lending books but she must not accept valuable
jewels from any other man than herJiancJ.
Marriage being an engagement for life, a woman will do
well to consider it very seriously before she makes up her
mind. It is a serious step for a man too ; so it is very wrong
for a girl deliberately to encourage a man whom she does not
mean to accept. The creed of the coquette is that even if you
intend to accept a man you should never give him his answer at
once always tell him that you want a day to think of it, by
way of keeping him humble. This may be in its way a very
excellent piece of advice, but we would not advise our readers
to follow it. The woman who would deliberately plan to keep a
man in suspense would not be so loveable a creature as the
frank and gentle English girl who says her "yes" or "no"
without either guile or reservation.
Sometimes it will happen that a man will propose, in spite of
having been given all possible discouragement. In this case,
the lady must refuse with all possible courtesy and kindness,
being careful, however, that this kindness does not lead him to
entertain any false hopes. Perfect silence must be maintained
afterwards by the lady with regard to the occurrence ; boasting
of proposals is a savage custom, akin to wearing scalps.
Never enter into correspondence with a gentleman unless
you are engaged to him. Follow the advice of the heroine in
" War to the Knife," who says : " Say as much as you like, my
dear ; but write as little as possible ! "
Every one feels sympathy with the young man who is in the
difficult and disagreeable position described in the above head-
ing. He is one of the favourite battle-horses of the novelist,
one of the chosen subjects for the artist. Scarcely a novel is
written without the introduction of this incident, scarcely a
year passes without at least one illustration of it on the walls
of the Academy. We all know the details of it by heart.
There stands the young man, nervous and shy, with a sorrow-
ful sense of all his shortcomings and the general haziness
of his financial prospects. The income, which appeared so
ASKING PAPA. 69
good when he was on the doorstep, shrinks into insignificance
as he opens the study door : the "expectations," which seemed
so certain as he trotted up the avenue, seem to shrink into
the merest chance as he meets the eye of his possible
father-in-law. The father, on his side, dees nothing whatever
to help him. He looks particularly doubtful and forbidding,
and, seated in his enormous study-chair, he appears doubly
imposing. The apartment in which the interview is held is of
itself sufficient to strike awe into the heart of the beholder the
serried ranks of dull-coloured books, the marble busts on the
mantelpiece and bookcase, and the sombre hues of the draperies,
are unspeakably chilling and depressing. The young man's
condition is truly pitiable. Only the day before he has pro-
posed to the young lady, and carried everything before him
by the vehemence of his passion. Mutual assurances of love
have been exchanged, vows of faithfulness promised, and all
monetary considerations thrown aside as of no account. Now
comes the appalling after-thought papa has to be asked, and
all the moral courage possessed by the young man (seldom a
very considerable factor in a male character) shrinks away into
the soles of his boots.
In old times, the ordeal must have been doubly trying, as it
had to be the first stage in the proceedings. The young man
had not, as now, the comfortable remembrance of his interview
with the young lady to keep him up. Now it is not necessary
for the lover to apply first to the father, and it does seem rather
foolish to do so, with the chance of a refusal afterwards from
the young lady. There is one exception, however, to this rule,
and that is, when the circumstances of the couple are strikingly
unequal if the young lady were an heiress and the young man
had very small means, it would be only honourable in him to
speak to the father first.
This terrible business of "asking papa" is sometimes got
over in writing ; but it is not so advisable as speaking, It is far
more easy to refuse a suppliant who writes than one who
speaks ; so that, however trying an interview may be, it is
better to make up your mind to go through with it. If circum-
stances compel the lover to write, he should bear in mind that
his letter ought to treat of two points first, his regard for the
70 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
lady, and secondly, the circumstances which warrant him in
seeking to make her his wife.
So much depends on the relative position of the parties, that
no form of words can be given to meet the case ; but, bearing
the points stated in view, the lover would dwell briefly on the
strength of his attachment, and then state in general terms the
nature of his position, and the grounds on which he felt justified
in asking the parents' consent. How far a parent is justified in
withholding that consent is a debatable question. It is natural
that he should desire that his children should be well settled in
life, and that he should not wish his daughter to marry into a
less comfortable style of living than that in which she has been
brought up. At the same time, we may remember that man
does not live by bread alone, and that the most luxurious life
with a man who was distasteful to her could never make up to
a woman for the happiness she might have experienced in
a marriage of affection. People marry for themselves, and not
for their relations ; and Nature is generally right in her selection.
There never was a marriage that gave perfect satisfaction to the
families of both parties. Mamma will think her boy could
have done better ; papa will think his daughter might have
made a better choice. Some force stronger than any feeling
of family affection draws the two people together. Yesterday
strangers, to-day they are all the world to one another, and there
is no other living creature who comes first to them. Very
often this force would seem to be largely the result of contrast,
the one character containing some particular element which is
missing in the other. The ultra-refined character may improve
through the companionship of a stronger nature, just as roses
sometimes flourish better when they are in the neighbourhood of
We will hope that the father alluded to in the last page
has given his consent, that the course of true love is running
with a fair amount of smoothness, and that all is going as
merrily as the proverbial marriage-bell The young couple
now enter into quite a different kind of life, pre-occupied in one
another, and caring little for an/ gaiety which they cannot share
ENGAGED. 7 1
together. The life is a fuller one than they have known before,
but neither so careless nor so free.
Life is not entirely honey to the engaged girl. She is always
anxious that every one shall like her lover, and alarmed lest he
should not say or do the right thing. Some of her old friends
are jealous, and tell her that she has no thoughts for them now
that she has this new interest in her life. However little tact a
man may have been dowered with by Nature, he should study to
be considerate for the sake of his lady-love, and remember that
when he pleases her friends he pleases her.
An engagement is preceded by the introduction of the suitor
to the ladies' relatives, after which the lady is introduced to his
family. The latter make the first calls on the friends of the lady
A young lady does not make any formal announcement of her
engagement. The fact may be mentioned casually to a few old
friends of the family. The news is precisely of that order which
is certain to disseminate itself without much exertion on the
part of the parties concerned.
When the gentleman's offer is accepted, it is customary for
him to give the lady what is called an " engagement ring." In our
grandmother's days this custom was not considered so important,
but now-a-days no young lady would consider herself engaged
unless she were the possessor of a ring of this character. The
engagement ring is invariably worn on the third finger of the left
hand, probably on account of the superstition which tells us that
there is a vein connected with that finger which flows straight to
the heart. Whether this be a physiological fact or no, we will
not pretend to say, but this is the reason old wives give us for the
choice of this particular finger for the purpose.
Some time ago it used to be the fashion to have the stones in
an engagement ring so selected that the initial letter of the
jewels form the Christian name of the betrothed. The Princess
of Wales' engagement ring was set with a beryl, an emerald, a
ruby, a topaz, a jacinth, and an emerald, the stones in this order
forming the word " Bertie," the familiar name of the Prince of
Wales in childhood. At present we prefer a plainer mixture of
stones ; modern taste would certainly condemn any ring in
which the ruby figured by the side of the emerald. Sometimes
72 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
a bangle is preferred to a ring, with some tender phrase en-
graved on the inner side. A little time ago it was the fashion to
have the bangle locked or soldered on the arm, so that it could
never come off. An accident on the ice, where a young lady's
arm swelled so frightfully that the manacle had to be actually
sawn off by the locksmith, put an end to this intensely foolish
It is often said that engaged couples spoil any party they
go to, and I fear that engaged people in general have given
encouragement to this idea. They are so completely absorbed
in one another that they do not care for the company of others,
and are only too apt to look on the world as a place which exists
exclusively for their benefit. It is not good taste to be too
exclusive in company, but it is just as bad to put on a pretended
air of indifference. Engaged people must try to behave like
ordinary beings, and take a little interest in what goes on
around them. Indifferent they cannot really appear, however
much they try ; for there is a great deal of truth in the Italian
proverb which defines love and a cough as the two things
which cannot be hid.
BREAKING OFF AN ENGAGEMENT.
Sometimes it will happen that an engagement has to be
This is always a most distressing thing. An engagement is
a serious tie, and ought not to be lightly severed. Still, circunv
stances will occur which render this course indispensable.
They may be of a pecuniary or family nature ; but very often
an engagement is broken off because the consenting parties
find, on closer acquaintance, that they are mutually unsuitable
to one another. In that case, it is better to break the compact
than to enter into a more serious one that of marriage with
the knowledge that only unhappiness can attend it.
It is the part of the lady to break off an engagement, antf
if she feels her happiness is compromised, the course is a wise
though painful one.
It is more dignified * break off an engagement by letter.
This should be accompanied by anything in the way of a
portrait, letters, or gifts, which may have been received during
When the letter is acknowledged, a similar return of the
exchanged letters and presents should take place.
We all know what a state of excitement a house is thrown into
by the anticipation of a wedding.
Mamma is busy giving a hundred-and-one orders to the
tradespeople ; the bride is closeted with her dressmaker, or
writing notes of thanks for wedding presents ; grandmamma
recalls reminiscences of the narrow-skirted dress in which she
was married, and weeps over the extravagant notions of modern
days. Papa, who has nothing whatever to do, grumbles more
than any one, and says he shall be thankful when all the fuss
and parade is over, and the house settled down into its com-
fortable ways. Wedding presents are coming all day, and there
are constant little notes to be written. The house is infested
with callers, and every one comes with the same questions :
" \Vhat will she wear?" "Where is the wedding to take
place?" " Who are the bridesmaids?" and " Where will they
go for their honeymoon ? "
In the midst of all this clatter and confusion the bridegroom
is almost forgotten. He hardly ever gets a word with his
intended, for she is constantly in the hands of the milliners, or
saying good-by to friends. Every one makes much of the
bride, and the bridegroom's visits are looked upon somewhat in
the light of an encumbrance. The bridegroom complains that
he sees nothing of his bride, but the sisters tell him laughingly
he need not grudge her to them now, for very soon he will be
the first consideration, and all the rest of the world of but
PROPER SEASONS FOR WEDDINGS.
June and July are the favourite months for weddings May
is discarded, because it is supposed to be unlucky. High-
church people are never married in I^nt, and nobody would
74 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
marry in Easter-week, so as to furnish a spectacle for holiday-
In every rank of society it is the bride who names the day.
In old times the season of the wedding used to be governed to
a certain extent by the place where the honeymoon was intended
to be passed ; but at present the honeymoon is generally
governed by the season at which the wedding takes place.
Honeymoons are growing shorter and shorter, and few people
now have the leisure to take as extended a trip as used once to
be considered en regie.
VARIOUS FORMS OF MARRIAGE.
Marriage by special license is not such an expensive affair as
formerly, and is therefore becoming tolerably common. Not
very long since it cost about y>, but it can now be had for ^5.
There are three different forms of marriage by special
license, ordinary license, or banns.
The advantage of a special license consists in the contracting
parties being able to be married at any time or place ; and
people often find it less costly to be married a little later in the
day so as to escape the expense of a wedding breakfast. The
hours in which marriages can be performed having been lately
extended to three o'clock in the afternoon, a special license is
more seldom needed than formerly.
An ordinary license requires that one of the contracting
parties should reside in the parish where the marriage is to be
performed for the space of fifteen days.
When people are married by banns, three weeks' notice must
be given, and the parties are, as the old-fashioned phrase is,
"asked " in church on three consecutive Sundays.
It is impossible to give an exact idea of the clergyman's fees,
as they vary according to the means of the bridegroom, but a
guinea to the clergyman, and ten shillings to the verger would be
ample in the ordinary way. If the organist plays the wedding-
march he usually receives a guinea, and bell-ringers would also
expect a gratuity.
The trousseau should be in accordance with the social position
THE TROUSSEAU. 75
about to be occupied by the bride. The wife of a clerk will not
need the elaborate toilette suitable to the lady of fashion, and
the bride who is going out to India will need an entirely different
outfit from that of one who is going to settle down as the wife of
a country clergyman. It is impossible, therefore, to give any
precise rule which will meet every case, as a woman's dress is
always dependent on the circumstances of her life
It is unwise for a bride to have more dresses made up than are
absolutely necessary, as fashions change so rapidly that unless a
thing is worn at once it quickly loses its value. A good stock of
dresses is requisite, however, and there should be mantles and
bonnets to match all the toilettes. A bride is certain to want a
good many evening dresses, as it is customary for all the friends
of both parties to give entertainments in her honour directly she
returns from her honeymoon. If the party is of sufficient im-
portance, the bride should wear white the first time she goes to
Very good under-linen is an economy in the long run, and
attention to the fineness and neatness of her lingerie is one of
the marks of a lady. All eccentricities in the way of coloured
silk under-clothing, &c. , should be eschewed, and the fineness of
the trimming and neatness of the work should constitute the chief
beauty of this department of the trousseau. At least a dozen of
each article should be provided. Handkerchiefs, gloves, corsets,
hosiery all have a place in the trousseau, and there are furs,
and ulsters, and carriage wraps, theatre-cloaks, and dinner^
dresses, and a hundred-and-one things a young lady finds she
must buy once she sets about getting a trousseau.
The best way for a person of moderate means is to write out a
list of all the things she thinks she needs, with the probable price
of each ; if the total sum is more than she can afford, she should
draw her pen through what she can most easily do without. By
this means she is able to calculate her expenses at starting, anrl
is saved from laying out money on luxuries that she needs for
In addition to buying her trousseau, the bride had at one time
to furnish all the house-linen. At present the bridegroom pro-
vides it, along with the furniture of the house, for the contrary
custom is doubtless a survival of the time when a woman was a
76 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
spinster in the most literal sense of the word, and the maiden
brought the result of her labour to her new home as not the least
important part of her dower.
Presents to the bride and bridegroom elect should be sent
about a fortnight before the wedding, or at any rate not later
than a week. Their exhibition forms such a prominent feature
of modern weddings, that it is more than ever necessary that
they should arrive in good time.
A present should be in accordance with the position of the
recipients. One would not present a Quakeress with a diamond
necklace, or give a set of ice-plates to a couple who could not
afford to give parties. There are, however, so many beautiful
articles in the way of silver and glass to be bought now-a-days,
that the difficulty rather lies in the abundance of choice than in
In one particular etiquette has much improved. Once on a
time a wedding present used necessarily to imply something
ornamental, and if you were to inquire the origin of all the
useless objects in a house, you invariably discovered they were
bridal gifts. At present we have changed all that, and an
ornamental chair or afternoon tea table is quite within the
region of practical politics. It would not be coirect to make
a present of this kind to a person who was greatly your superior
in wealth or social position, but to your equal you may per-
fectly well give something useful, with the certainty that it will
be welcome and appreciated.
A still more utilitarian fashion is that of the bestowal of
cheques, but we cannot commend it except in the case of a near
relation or old and intimate friend. There is no doubt that
money is the most welcome of all things, and that when people
are going to be married they are only too thankful to have
plenty of it in hand ; but when a slight acquaintance presents a
beautiful young bride with a cheque for ^"50 or jioo, one feels
that he would have treated her more courteously had he taken
the trouble to select a gift in accordance with her tastes.
The question of duplicates is one of the worst features of a
haphazard system of bestowing gifts. We all remember the face
WEDDING PRESENTS. 77
of the spoilt boy in Punch, who receives a new drum with the
remark that there are five in the nursery already. We lose the
terrible candour of childhood as we increase in years, or else
many a young lady would make a somewhat similar remark when
she receives her fifth butter-knife, her third soup-ladle, or salad-
bowl. It is very difficult to see how the difficulty is to be com-
bated, unless we were to adopt the fashion of the American
bride, who calmly wrote out a list of things she would like, and
scratched each article through as it was presented to her. Sur-
prise is half the secret of pleasure, so that the young lady referred
to would lose half the delight which she might have experienced
from her gifts ; still, nobody likes a disagreeable surprise, and it
is not possible to welcome the sixth cruet-stand with anything
like the same enthusiasm with which we welcomed the first.
Some donors try to solve the Gordian knot by asking the
bride-elect to name something she would like. It is manifestly
unfair to place any one in the unpleasant position of choosing a
gift for themselves without the least idea of what the giver wishes
to spend. It would be allowable for a very old friend to say,
" I thought of giving you a tea-set, my dear, but I do not know
if you would prefer something else? " but the more delicate way
would be to commission the bride's sisters to find out what pre-
sents would be the most welcome to her.
People do not always write letters when they send a wedding
present. It is less formal to place the card of the giver inside
the packet, with some little message of love or good wishes
written upon it, in accordance with the degree of intimacy exist-
ing between the giver and the recipient. The bride-elect must
be careful to acknowledge the gift at once, as many a girl has
lost a friend through an omission of this character. The week
before a wedding is so overcrowded with events that an over-
sight at such a time might be pardoned ; but negligence is a
thing that most people find hard to forgive, and it would be sad
for a bride to lose a friend upon the threshold of her new life
from having neglected such a trivial observance.
The bridesmaids are, in their own idea, to the full as important
as the bride, and certainly a good deal of the effect of the cere-
78 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
mony depends upon their appearance. The bridesmaids are
always the sisters and most intimate friends of the bride ; the
bridegroom's sisters are also included, but it should be remem-
bered that the bride's sisters always take precedence of the
bridegroom's. The number may be either odd or even, accord-
ing to the taste of the bride. If they are uneven the last in the
procession walks by herself.
There is generally a good deal of difficulty in choosing the
bridesmaids' dresses. It is no small responsibility to select a
dress that shall be equally pleasing to some seven or eight young
ladies of different complexions and diverging tastes. Some
years ago both blondes and brunettes were sometimes con-
ciliated by two colours being allowed instead of one ; but this
method is now considered to be fatal to the general effect.
It is well, perhaps, to have a consultation amongst the
bridesmaids before ultimately deciding on the dress, so that all
the young ladies may have an opportunity of expressing their
sentiments upon the matter, the bride, of course, having always
the casting vote.
Strictly speaking, the choice rests with the bride, but she
should endeavour to suit the tastes of the. bridesmaids as far as
possible. If half are dark and half are fair it is difficult to get
one colour to suit them all ; but even then it is better to select
cream, or white, or some such tint, than to have two distinct
colours like pink and blue. The material of the bridesmaids'
dresses must largely depend on what is worn by the bride, for it
would be bad taste for them to wear anything more costly than
she does. The bride represents the sun, the bridesmaids the satel-
lites. If she wears brocade they may wear soft silk ; if she wears
soft silk they must wear muslin or nun's cloth. For the making of
the dresses it is impossible to give any rule, as it must be greatly
guided by fashion ; and fashion sometimes chooses picturesque
hats and velvet jackets, and at other times ordains that the brides-
maids shall appear in wreaths and veils, and airy robes, so as to
look like one mass of fleecy whiteness.
Fashion, then, must carry the day, as long as we can insure
that nothing shall be worn that is unsuitable to the season that
no summer bridesmaids should wear heavy-looking dresses, and
no winter ones shiver in muslin gowns.
The page being now almost as important to a wedding as the
bridesmaids it is necessary to say a few words upon the subject.
Pages should never be introduced unless the dress of the bride
is very long and magnificent, as the raison d'etre of a page is
that he should carry his mistress's train. As a matter of fact
he does not invariably perform this office, for it needs a good
deal of practice before boys can be trained to sufficient deftness
in the art. Sometimes the train is raised by means of two long
loops of satin ribbon, and two tiny pages hold the train by the
ribbons, looking like two small Loves attendant on one of the
Little girl bridesmaids are always an attractive part of the
spectacle, and little boy pages are equally telling. Probably the
fashion commenced through the partiality of some fond sister,
who desired that her little brother might take a prominent part
in her wedding ; any way the little page is a personage now,
and one looks for him at weddings quite as a matter of course.
Sometimes the dresses of the pages are adopted in honour of the
bridegroom if he is in the navy they wear sailor dress, if in the
army they wear the colours of his regiment, but historical dresses
are the prettiest of all, and by far the most often adopted.
Charles dresses of silk and satin, with Vandyke collars and square
cut hair, Georgian coats with cut steel buttons, fine lace ruffles
and gold-headed cane, Elizabethan dress with doublet and
hose, short velvet cloak, and close cut hair any of these dresses
are picturesque and pretty, and set off a good-looking child
Only one word of warning to mothers have the dress correct
if ycu have it at all. Copy some reliable engraving, and
have the dress correct in style and cut, and do not be content
with the hideous historical dress of the modern tailor, which
is garish in colour, vulgar in ornament, and essentially modern
The pages walk immediately next to the bride in going
up the church, but after the ceremony they come last of all,
escorting the little girl bridesmaid's, supposing there are any
80 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
THE BEST MAN.
The principal duty of a best man is to see that the bridegroom
does not enter the church without the ring, or leave it without
his hat. Why this latter peculiarity should be attempted by
every bridegroom we know not, but history repeats itself, and it
is the bridegroom's practice to want to go away without his hat,
and the best man's place to see he has it.
In addition to these two duties the best man has others which
are nearly as important. He has to accompany the bridegroom
to church (standing at his right hand a little to the rear during
the whole of the ceremony), to pay the clergyman his fee, and
bestow on the clerk, pew-opener, and bellringers tJ eir proper
honorariums. If there are any speeches at the break test he has
to propose the health of the bridesmaids.
It is usual for the bridegroom and his friend to le; ^ their
hats in the vestry, as what with pulling off of gloves, fun,\ling
for the ring, kneeling and general confusion, they will find tXey
have quite enough to do without being troubled with anything
of so wandering a disposition, so generally in the way, and so
apt to make unseemly noises at inopportune times, as a gentle-
man's headgear of the nineteenth century.
The best man is either the bridegroom's brother or most
intimate friend. He needs a good deal of savoir faire, as he
is required to play such a prominent part, and is expected
to make himself agreeable to everybody. The person he will
have to be most attentive to will be the chief bridesmaid, who is
generally the sister of the bride. He will sit beside her at the
In addition to the best man, several young bachelors are in-
vited to the wedding, in order that they may make themselves
agreeable to the bridesmaids. These young men are called
groomsmen, and there should be one to sit beside each brides-
maid at the breakfast. Both best man and groomsmen wear
dark coats, and their dress is generally enlivened by light gloves,
white waistcoats, and a flower in the button-hole. At one time
nothing but a frock-coat was considered correct at a wedding,
but they are never seen now, the Royal princes having appeared
at so many weddings of late in ordinary morning coats.
THE BRIDE. 8 1
The dress of a bride admits of but little variation. With the
exception of the adoption of ivory or cream in the place of the
dead white, and the occasional substitution of diamond pins for
the usual floral wreath, there has been little change in the
costume for many years past. True, an attempt was made in
the direction of change a few seasons back by a daring young
leader of fashion, who went up to the altar in a short- waisted
brocade, a huge poke bonnet trimmed with ostrich feathers,
and a little reticule dangling from her belt ; but this style
did not commend itself to the world at large, who probably
considered the long satin train and huge enveloping veil too
becoming a dress to be willingly discarded. So the conventional
bridal dress still holds its own, the only recent novelty being the
adoption of the posy bouquet instead of the cart-wheel shaped
nosegay formerly in vogue. r
With regard to ornaments, the choice of the bride is limited.
She should wear only pearls or diamonds, coloured gems and
rillagree gold being altogether wrong and objectionable. She is
frequently presented with a bracelet or other article of jewellery
by the bridegroom, which she wears for the first time on her
The bride generally takes breakfast in her own room on the
morning of her wedding, as it is not etiquette for her to appear
in the family circle.
After she is dressed, she remains in her room till her carriage
is announced. It should be the last carriage to leave the house,
and in it there should be only one other occupant beside herself
namely, her father, or the person who is to give her away.
When the most important part of the ceremony is approaching
the bride must commence to take off her left-hand glove in good
time, so that there may not be a long pause before the putting
on of the ring. She gives her bouquet to her chief bridesmaid
to hold at this point, and next the glove she has taken off.
Finally, her bridegroom invests her with the ring, inside whose
narrow circlet lie all the imaginable joys and sorrows of human
82 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
Some sage observer upon the social phenomena of modern
life has made the very true remark that the best man at a
wedding is invariably better looking than the bridegroom. Now
as most bridegrooms have been best men in their day, it is
evident that the fact above referred to has nothing whatever to
do with the intrinsic good looks of the parties, but is simply an
evidence of the dire effects played by anxiety and responsibility
upon the human face divine.
The best man is gay and careless, and has no serious anxiety
to cloud his morning's amusement. The bridegroom, on the con-
trary, has many things to think of, many people to please ; and
he is taking, moreover, the most serious step of his life, whether
for happiness or the reverse. A little anxiety is pardonable on
his part, and it is not wonderful if he does not always appear
at his best.
The bridegroom ought not to see his bride on the happy day
till he meets her at the altar.
His dress should scarcely differ from his ordinary morning
costume, and should on no account be too gay ; he should wear
a dark morning coat, light or white waistcoat, light trousers, and
light gloves, and a flower in his button-hole.
In France evening dress is adopted by gentlemen at weddings,
but this is a custom which is never likely to find favour in
Modern fashion has relieved the bridegroom of one expense
the providing of all the carriages for the wedding. At present
he is only responsible for one that in which he takes the bride
back to the house from the church to the breakfast. But it is a
question whether the happy man gains much by this arrange-
ment, for when he was responsible for the expense of the
carriages he was not expected to give presents to the bridesmaids.
Carriage-hire was at any rate a fixed charge, but when jewellery
is in question there is no telling into what extravagance a
bridegroom may not be led. Diamond lace-pins are insinua-
tingly commended by the jeweller, or gold bangles with the
initial letters of the bride and bridegroom's names inserted
in jewels are contemptuously alluded to as things which might
It is the bridegroom's place to provide the bouquets for the
bridesmaids, as well as that for the bride.
Both the presents and bouquets should be sent to the brides-
maids' houses the evening before the wedding, but the bridal
bouquet should not appear until the morning itself. It is
unnecessary to say that a bridal bouquet should be made of
entirely white flowers, such as roses, gardenias, hyacinths, and
orange blossoms, set off with ferns or grasses. Some very
effective bridal posies are made of nothing but lilies or white
orchids. The posies should be tied with long ends of the
very richest white moire or velvet ribbons. The bouquets are
either enclosed in lace paper or in white satin bouquet-holders,
trimmed with blonde and pearls.
The bridesmaids' bouquets must be of a kind to match their
dresses. Fashions go in and out so quickly with regard to
them that it is almost impossible to lay down any special
rule. Sometimes they are in the shape of cart-wheels, some-
times posies of long-stalked flowers tied up with streamers of
coloured ribbons. Sometimes the flowers are arranged in
baskets ; but this is rather a silly fashion, for nobody after the
age of ten looks particularly well walking into church carrying a
basket of flowers.
Floral muffs are rather pretty for winter weddings, suspended
round the neck by a loop of ribbon, and tied in the centre with
a bow to match. In short there is no end to the variety of
styles, and it is best to abide by the prevailing fashion in these
Wedding invitations are never written ; they are invariably
printed on small silver-edged paper or large silver-edged cards,
with a blank left for the names.
The form is nearly always as follows :
84 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
Mr. and Mrs. DASH
Request the pleasure of
Mr. and Mrs. ASTERISK'S company at
St. Paul's, Knightsbridge,
On Saturday, June i^th,
At ii o'clock,
On the occasion of the Marriage of their
DAUGHTER and Mr. BLANK.
And, afterwards, at
5, Belgrave Square, to Breakfast, at i o'clock.
An invitation of this kind would be sent out about three
weeks before the wedding, and it would be etiquette to reply as
soon as possible, in order that the hostess might know how many
guests she had to expect.
The only case in which invitations would be written would be
if the party were to be a particularly quiet one, including no
more than a dozen friends. In that case, little notes would
answer the purpose better than cards, as anything in the way of
fuss and parade would be entirely out of place.
The first person to arrive at the church should be the bride-
groom, accompanied by the best man. They await the coming
of the bride, and stand at the right of the altar.
The wedding guests should be careful to arrive in good time,
as it is not etiquette for them to arrive later than the bride. The
first three rows of seats (nearest the chancel) are generally re-
served for the accommodation of the guests. The bridesmaids
must get to the church early, as they have to stand in the porch
to receive the bride. When she arrives, she takes her father's
right arm, and proceeds towards the altar, her bridesmaids
forming a procession and following her slowly up the aisle.
When the number of bridesmaids is an even one, they walk
two and two. If the number is an uneven one, the last brides-
maid would walk alone. The chief bridesmaid's place is imme-
diately behind the bride.
After the bridesmaids comes the bride's mother, with her son
or other near relation.
IN CHURCH. 85
At the commencement of the ceremony, the bride stands at
the left-hand side of the bridegroom. The best-man stands at
the right-hand side of the bridegroom, a little to the rear, and
the father of the bride stands at her left hand.
In High Churches the first part of the service takes place out-
side the chancel. The bridal party only enter the chancel in
this case, and stand at the altar to receive the address.
The chief bridesmaid must be ready to receive the glove and
bouquet of the bride early in the service. It is her duty to hold
it until the conclusion of the ceremony. If the chief bridesmaid
has a bouquet of her own also, it would be kind of the best man to
relieve her of it, so as to save her from the trouble of holding two.
There is no order of precedence observed in the way in which
the guests are seated in the church ; they take their places in the
order in which they come, and sit or stand about wherever it
At the conclusion of the service the bridegroom gives his arm
to the bride, and leads the way to the vestry, followed by the
bridesmaids, best man, the parents of the happy pair, and any
other near relations or distinguished guests who may be present.
Here the register is signed by the bride and bridegroom, and
by three or four of the nearest relations. The chief bridesmaid
and best man have also the right to sign the register. Two
witnesses are sufficient for all legal purposes, but the friends of
the bride always consider it a privilege to sign their names to
this important document.
The near relatives of bride and bridegroom, both ladies and
gentlemen, are allowed to kiss the bride in the vestry after the
conclusion of the ceremony ; but congratulations may very
properly take the place of a custom which is likely to embarrass
While the register is being signed, the wedding favours are
distributed to the guests. This office generally falls to the lot of
the little girl bridesmaids, if there are any present, one going
round to the gentlemen, the other to the ladies. The favours
are carried in two silvered baskets, those for the ladies being
decorated with sprigs of orange-blossom, and the gentleman's
with silver acorns or ivy-leaves. There should be a safety-pin
at the back of each, all ready for pinning on.
86 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
The bridegroom wears a flower in his button-hole, because it
is not correct for him to wear a favour.
When it has been ascertained that the bridegroom's carriage
is ready, the organist strikes up the wedding march, and the
newly married pair pass down the aisle (the bride taking her
husband's left arm), followed by the bridesmaids in the same
order as they came in. Some years since the bridesmaids used
to be escorted down the church by a groomsman, but this is
never done now. The guests make their way down the church
without any attempt at a formal procession, which would only
be correct if the wedding were a Royal one. It would be quite
right for a gentleman to offer his arm to a lady on an occasion
of this kind, so as to escort her quickly through the crowd.
The bridal, pair drive away from the church together in the
bridegroom's carriage, and directly they leave the bells set up a
merry peal. The next person to drive off would be the bride's
mother, as (the wedding breakfast being always given by the
bride's relations) the mother is in the position of hostess, and it
is necessary for her to get home first that she may be there to
welcome the guests. This is one of the very few exceptions in
which a hostess takes precedence of her guests, but the reason
excuses the apparent breach of politeness.
All the guests follow as quickly as possible, each party driving
off as their carriage comes up, without any regard to precedence.
It is the best man's place to put the bridesmaids into their car-
riages, and he usually returns to the house in the same carriage
with the second batch of bridesmaids. Everyone feels a certain
relief when the ceremony is over ; every one's tongue is loosed,
and there is so much to talk of that the ice is quickly broken.
Every one says the same things on these occasions, and they
always have the air of novelty.
' ' Poor thing, how nervous she was." ' ' But she spoke up beau-
tifully." "How lovely she looked!" "Did you like her
dress?" "Did you notice her lace? her mother gave her that."
"Yes, beautiful, wasn't it? and so were her diamonds." " I was
dreadfully afraid the bridegroom had forgotten the ring ! "
"That would have been a catastrophe indeed! " "Well, it's
over now ; all's well that ends well," and so on, and so on. So
the talk goes on, and every one feels disposed to be friendly
before they reach the house.
AFTER CHURCH. 87
On their return from church, the happy pair are ushered into the
drawing-room, where they receive the congratulations of their
The host and hostess stand near the door, so as to receive the
guests as they enter, each one being announced by the butler
as they arrive.
Having spoken to the hostess, they immediately proceed to
shake hands with the bride and bridegroom, unless they had
previously done so in the church.
The time before the breakfast would be filled up \\ith the
inspection of the wedding presents. Much taste can be shown in
the way these are arranged, and as every guest who comes to a
wedding is expected to give a present, there is generally a very
handsome show. The great art lies in centralizing the presents
as much as possible, placing all the jewellery in one place, and
nil the silver in another. Tables covered with the presents
should be placed round three sides of the room. The afternoon
tea-sets are arranged on tiny tables ; the fans are arranged on a
stand in a pyramidal group, so that they slightly overlap one
The card of the donor should be placed on each present, and
if the gift is some article of furniture, such as a tea-table, chair,
or screen, the name should be tied to some part of it.
Illuminated addresses are only sent when the present is given
by tenants, or upper servants. They should be placed near the
gift which they accompany.
It may be as well to mention that gentlemen do not retain their
hats, gloves, and sticks as at a morning call, but leave all such
encumbrances in the hall before proceeding tothe drawing-room.
Ladies never remove their bonnets or wraps at a wedding, and
only take off their gloves when they are seated at the breakfast.
A guest at a wedding does not carry a bouquet. In the
summer she take a sunshade, and if she likes, a fan. At winter
weddings in town the guests do not dress quite so showily as at
the summer ones, because it is out of the season. A thoroughly
fresh and well-cut tailor-made dress looks far better on a chilly
day than the smartest confection turned out by a Bond Street
88 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
milliner. Fur looks well in winter, and the guests may wear
muffs, either of fur or of material to match the dress. In the latter
case they will find a spray of natural flowers a decided embellish-
The great point to remember about a wedding-dress is that it
is a day dress, and that no hashed-up evening toilette will ever
look well in the daylight. It need not necessarily be very smart,
but it is essential that all the colours should harmonize, and at
no other function is a perfectly fresh and soignee toilette of more
importance than at a wedding.
It may be mentioned that the prejudice against wearing black
at a wedding has now gone out of date ; black silk or velvet
toilettes are often seen on these occasions, brightened up with
white or crimson. Our grandmothers would have thought that
a sombre garment would bring bad luck to the bride, but
whether modern brides are more unfortunate than their pre-
decessors it is impossible to say.
A wedding-breakfast can either be served on one table or on
several, and there is something to be said in favour of both plans.
There is more sociability, perhaps, when a party can be seated
at one table, but when the dining-room is not of sufficient size to
accommodate the whole party at once, it is better to have several
round tables placed about the room, so that people can breakfast
With regard to the order of precedence observed in going,
into breakfast, the bride and bridegroom go first, arm in arm,
followed by the bride's father with the bridegroom's mother, and
the bridegroom's father with the mother of the bride. Next
comes the best man with the chief bridesmaid, the other brides-
maids escorted by their groomsmen ; finally all the rest of the
company, in whatever order they like.
Directly breakfast is announced, the hostess introduces the
gentlemen to the ladies whom they are to escort, and if it is a
sit-down breakfast, and the room is sufficiently large to accom-
modate the whole of the company at once, it is usual to place
the names of the guests in the plates, so that they will have no
difficulty in discovering where they are intended to sit. The
THE BREAKFAST. 89
bride and bridegroom occupy the centre of the table, opposite
the wedding-cake, the bride sitting at the bridegroom's left hand.
Next to the bride sits her father, with her mother-in-law ; next
to the bridegroom the bride's mother, with the bridegroom's
father. The bridesmaids are generally placed opposite the bride,
with the gentlemen who have taken them in to breakfast.
Now commences the wedding-breakfast, which is, properly
speaking, a lunch. In the centre of the table is the wedding-
cake, on a silver stand, ornamented with real or confectionery
flowers. Plenty of flowers are placed upon the table, all white
ones, in white china vases. All the sweets and cold entrees are
placed upon the table, the servants removing them, and handing
them round in turn. The soup is handed round in soup-plates,
the tureen not appearing upon the scene.
All kinds of wine and ' ' cwps " are given at wedding-breakfasts,
but there is more champagne drank as a rule than anything else.
Ices are generally given , and a little choice fruit, but tea and
coffee do not form part of an orthodox breakfast.
Serviettes are required at a sit-down breakfast, and a menu-
card, printed in silver, should be placed before each guest. At
the bottom of the card should be the date, as well as the address
of the house where the wedding takes place.
At the conclusion of the breakfast, the wedding-cake is handed
round. The bride cuts the first slice, for it is one of the duties
which belong to her ; after that the cake is removed to a side-
table, where the butler finishes the work with greater expedition,
cutting up several slices into tiny bits, which are then handed
round to the guests in turn. Whether they are fond of wedding-
cake or not they must take some, as it would be impolite to
Immediately after the cake has been handed round come
the speeches that is, if any are to be made at all. In town,
speeches are growing less and less popular, and sometimes only
the bride's health is drunk ; sometimes there are no speeches at
all. Speeches are often very embarrassing, both to the people
who hear them and those who make them. Some of the
speakers dwell on the sorrow which will be felt by the family
of the bride in a way which is trying both to the young lady
and her friends ; others allude to family subjects, which are
90 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
better left alone. Gradually the custom of speeches has begun
to die out, and it is probable that in time it will be altogether
When speeches are made at all, the following is the order
of their progression. The health of the bride and bridegroom
is proposed first of all, and it would be considered extremely
rude to give any other toast the precedence. As it is such an
important toast it is proposed either by the most distinguished
guest present, or by the oldest friend of the family. The bride-
groom responds for himself and his bride, and either he or some
distinguished guest proposes the health of the bridesmaids.
The best man then returns thanks on their behalf, and this is
generally considered the speech of the occasion. It behoves
the best man to be smart and witty, and certainly if such a
subject does not inspire him nothing ever will.
The bridegroom's father now proposes the health of the bride's
parents, for which the bride's father returns thanks.
The bride now leaves the table, accompanied by her mother
or the chief bridesmaid, and changes her wedding for her
travelling dress. Very glad is she to escape from the busy
scene, and the banquet which she has scarcely tasted ; it is
delightful for the others, but to the bride this first meal which
she takes after her marriage cannot but appear in the light of
a frightful ordeal. She lays aside the snowy silken robes, and
the orange-flower wreath which she may never wear again,
and it is quite a new person who appears upon the scene, clad
in a trim-looking travelling dress of ostentatiously quiet make.
Dainty and tasteful it should be, but never too bridal in its
And now every one pays their adieux to the bride, the brides-
maids crowd round her to get the last kiss, her little brothers
suddenly wake up to the idea that Sissy is going away, and
begin to cry, in spite of their smart new suits. All the com-
pany go into the hall to see the start and say "good-by" to
the bride. She kisses her friends once more, and the bride-
groom nearly has his hand squeezed off by the hearty parting
grasps with which he is saluted, and the happy pair drive off amid
a shower of white satin slippers and rice which the bridesmaids
generally manage to have all ready on these occasions.
A wedding-breakfast, as described in the preceding pages,
is a very nice and agreeable thing ; but it has one decided draw-
back : it is very expensive. It means a meal for almost as
large a party as one would invite to a ball, and of a character
far more recherche' than anything one would give for a ball-
supper. It means hiring a great quantity of china and glass,
and a number of extra people to wait. All this is what a wed-
ding-breakfast means to people of limited income, and it is a
question whether the enjoyment compensates for the trouble and
expense in such a case.
A wedding-tea is a very good way out of the difficulty, and a
sideboard meal is also less expensive than the kind described
above. There are, in fact, several innovations of this kind
which have appeared of late, and all with a view to getting rid
of the trouble and expense of a formal wedding breakfast.
The "stand-up" breakfast is generally known as the "side-
board meal." Light refreshments are laid out on a long buffet
or table, extending down one side of the room, the servants
standing behind it, as at a ball-supper. No hot entries appear,
and soup is not absolutely necessary. Sandwiches of every
description would be given, cold entrees, mayonnaise, sweets,
ices, and fruit. Sherry and claret would be placed on the
table, but champagne is very often dispensed with at this meal ;
no serviettes, d'oyleys, or finger-glasses are required, whereas
a sit-down breakfast has to be as carefully laid as though it were
a dinner-party on a gigantic scale.
Very few servants are required on these occasions, as the
gentlemen wait on the ladies. The servants stand behind the
buffet, and give the various dishes as they are asked for to the
gentlemen, and the gentlemen help the ladies. A few sofas and
rout-seats are placed round the walls, but the centre of the
room is left free, so as not to impede circulation. The guests
sit or stand as they prefer, and very often a meal of this kind is
more enjoyable than a more formal affair.
The cake forms a principal feature in the centre of the buffet,
and it is cut and handed round just as at any ordinary break'
fast. The buffet must be decorated with flowers, and made to
92 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
look as pretty as possible. Speeches are generally omitted at
a standing-up breakfast. Sometimes one small table is set for
the accommodation of the bridal party that is, the bride and
bridegroom, with the parents of both ; but there is something
about this arrangement which strikes one as not being altogether
in good taste. Although the young lady is a bride, she still is
a daughter of the house, and it hardly seems correct that she
should be seated at a table whilst every one else is standing.
A wedding-tea is given much in the same way as a standing-
up breakfast. Soup is not allowable, and no kind of hot
entree. Tea and coffee form the principal beverages, though
sherry, claret-cup, and champagne are sometimes given as
well. Brown and white bread-and-butter, biscuits, and fruit
are always given, and, in addition to this, many people give
poultry, salmon, ices, and sandwiches of every kind. It is as
well to put a little label on each dish of sandwiches when
many varieties are provided. Such curious things are put into
sandwiches now that it is better to mention the contents.
Caviare, foie-gras, water-cress, and salad are only a few amongst
the curious contents we come across, and as these are not all
popular things it is better to label them, for nobody is a
universalist in the matter of sandwiches.
Yet another kind of wedding-breakfast can be given in the
summer, by turning the whole affair into a huge garden-party,
and having the refreshments in a tent.
The cake is cut when the bridal party have finished breakfast,
and the health of the bride and bridegroom drank afterwards ;
but the majority of the guests come and go as they like, and have
their refreshments when it pleases them.
The latter method is not quite so sociable as some of the
others ; but it will be seen that there are many ways of avoiding
the stereotyped style of wedding breakfast.
A DOUBLE WEDDING.
It will sometimes occur that two weddings in a family take
place on the same day, and people may be pardoned for being a
little doubtful concerning the etiquette of so unusual a state of
A DOUBLE WEDDING. 93
It is as difficult to imagine a wedding with two brides as a
sky with two moons, and there are many little questions as to
matters of precedence and etiquette which naturally arise as one
considers the subject.
How do the brides settle who is to walk up the church first ?
Do they have one set of bridesmaids or two? Do the two
brides walk first, with all the bridesmaids following, or does
each bride have her separate train? Do they have two cakes or
one, and how are they cut, and what is the order with regard to
the toasts? All these and other similar questions have to be
taken into consideration, and it may be as well to write briefly
the method to be followed as an assistance to any mistress of the
ceremonies who feels herself at a loss.
In the first place, each bride has her own set of bridesmaids,
who are dressed in accordance with her own particular taste.
In walking up the aisle there are two distinct processions,
each bride being followed by her own train. In the procession
from the vestry to the porch the same plan is observed, only
that the bride who took precedence before the service takes the
second place after it. At the breakfast there are two wedding-
cakes upon the table, and each bridal pair is seated before their
own cake. At the conclusion of the breakfast a gong is sounded
to call everybody's attention, and somebody says, "Mrs. John
Smith will now cut her cake." Mrs. Smith then cuts her cake,
and after it is handed round her health is drank and responded
to. The same ceremonies are then gone through with respect to
the second bride the cutting of the cake and drinking of the
toasts being thus kept entirely separate.
The bride whose cake is first cut should be the one who took
the inferior place in the procession up the church. By means of
these expedients all jealousy is avoided and confusion becomes
THE WEDDING DRESS FOR A WIDOW.
So much doubt exists on the subject of the etiquette which
appertains when a lady marries a second time, that it will be
well to mention what she should and should not do.
94 EiTQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
No favours are distributed at the wedding of a widow. The
bride must not carry an orange-blossom bouquet, nor wear
any trimmings of these flowers. Orange-blossoms are worn
once in life, and once only, and are the prerogative of the
A widow may wear a long veil over a bonnet, but it is not
considered good taste for her to wear a bridal wreath. She must
not wear a white dress, but has her choice of cream colour,
heliotrope, pink or grey. A widow does not have bridesmaids ;
but she generally selects some favourite married friend from
amongst her acquaintances to perform the bridesmaid's duties.
The near relations of both parties are generally invited to the
ceremony, but it is better taste to keep the wedding as quiet
It is not usual for a widow to wear two wedding-rings, but
should she desire to do so she would wear the old one above the
new. It would be incorrect to wear it on any other finger but
AFTER THE BREAKFAST.
It is etiquette for the guests to leave soon after the departure of
the bride. The hostess has passed through an exciting time,
and has presumably experienced a good deal of emotion in
parting with her daughter ; it is, therefore, kinder to relieve her
as soon as possible from the strain of entertaining company.
The guests should, then, take leave very soon after the bride has
left, offering their congratulations to the hostess as they do so on
the admirable way in which everything has gone off.
In some cases the hostess elects to hold an afternoon reception,
and then of course the guests can stay or not as pleases them
best. It is usual to hire some professional reciter or musician
for an entertainment of this kind, for spirits are apt to be at a
surprisingly low ebb after the dissipations of the morning are over,
and it would not do to expect too much of people who have been
through the ordeal of a long service and a heavy meal in the
middle of the day.
Sometimes a dance is given in the evening, or places taken
at the theatre for the younger members of the party. For a
morning wedding has a deleterious effect upon the spirits ;
THE HONEYMOON. 95
every one feels flat after the bride has left, and the afternoon and
evening seem to hang heavily on hand. A formal dance in the
evening is not a very good way of winding up the day ; it
hardly seems fair to expect the servants to be all ready and
brisk in the evening after such a busy morning, but there is no
objection to a little impromptu dance, if some of the brides-
maids and groomsmen like to arrange it.
In the country, a drive is sometimes arranged in the afternoon,
and the party return to a late dinner, and wind up with a dance.
In town, where it is not necessary to have so many friends staying
in the house, the many engagements of the evening render it
unnecessary for the hostess to think of catering for their amuse-
ment after the wedding is over.
Honeymoons are rarely as prolonged as formerly, when it was
the fashion to call them by the name of a wedding tour, and to
prolong them from six weeks to three months. Life is too busy
now for people to be able to spare so much time for a trip ; and
it is, after all, a question whether the bride is not really happier
when she reaches her own home, than when travelling about in
new dresses and staying in strange hotels.
The table on the following page gives a list of places for
wedding tours for every month in the year. It is to be hoped
that it will furnish a few useful hints upon the subject.
By a short tour is meant from one to two weeks ; a long one
from a month to three months.
The choice of locality depends on the season of the year,
and the time you have at your disposal. If you have but
a short time to spare it is better to take a trip into the country,
or some quiet seaside resort. If time is no object a trip on the
Continent will present many attractions, particularly if travelling
has the merit of novelty to one or both parties.
Take care to arrange beforehand the train you intend leaving
by after the wedding-breakfast ; have the carriage ready at the
door, and start in good time, as many unforeseen delays occur at
the last moment,
ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
THE HONEYMOON TABLE.
Torquay, South Devon.
Nice, Mentone, Pau,
Cannes ; any part of the
South of France.
Hastings, St. Leonards.
Brussels and a few
The Channel Islands
Chamouni and any part
Holland and up the
The tour of the Italian
Lakes of Killarney.
Pyramids, Nile, &c.
Lastly, a piece of advice to the bride. Don't look too utterly
astonished the first time you are called upon at the hotel to
order dinner, nor ask your husband at breakfast time whether
he prefers coffee to chocolate, or whether he takes sugar in
It is purely optional now whether or no the happy pair send
wedding-cards to their acquaintances. Once on a time it was
considered de rigueur, but at present the notification of the
wedding in the Times is considered sufficient for all purposes.
If wedding-cards are sent they should be enclosed in an
enamelled envelope, addressed simply with the name of the
person they are sent to, this envelope then being enclosed in one
of ordinary size, and addressed and stamped in the usual way.
The cards being enamelled and silver- edged, are considered
too delicate to be sent in an ordinary cover.
A pretty idea is to have a folding card made in three par-
titions, with the name of the bridegroom and the maiden name
of the bride at each side of the interior, and Mr. and Mrs.
So-and-so in the centre. Outside should be a crest in sjlver, or
else the monogram of the two names. The new and old
addresses are usually printed beneath the names.
The day on which the bride is expected home is never
mentioned on a wedding-card. Special At Home cards should
be sent for this purpose a little time after the bride has returned
home. The wedding-cards are sent off by the bride's sisters on
the evening of the wedding-day.
Another ceremony more honoured in the breach than the
observance, is the sending of wedding-cake. Very, very rarely
is it sent now, and there is so much work connected with a
wedding that one may be very glad of being saved some of the
trouble. If the bride desire it to be sent it is better to purchase
the little desk-shaped cardboard boxes which are sold for the
purpose, as they go very safely through the post, and save an
infinity of trouble. It is better to let the confectioner's man
cut the cake for this purpose, as there is a special way of doing
it in the trade which ensures neatness and prevents waste.
The following is the correct form for announcing a marriage
in the newspaper :
"On the 24th inst., at St. Margaret's, Well Street, by the
Rev. Charles So-and-So, John, eldest son of John Smith, Esq.,
of Abel Lodge, Warminster, to Jane, youngest daughter of
Charles Grey, Esq., of Waterford,"
98 ETIQUETTE OF WEDDINGS.
To add " No cards " would be considered a vulgarism. Yet
it is not considered vulgar for a bride to print her pet name in
brackets for the benefit of the world at large. It is difficult,
however, to form a high opinion of the refinement of the young
lady who advertises herself to the casual reader as Jane Smith
(Cissy), or Barbara Jenkins (Baby).
To the girl who has been one of many daughters at home,
this first home-coming is a happy experience. Everything is
new and nice, and all the arrangements devolve upon her.
Before, she has been one of many : now she is the mistress
of a home, and is first to one person in the world. It
startles her when the servants call her "ma'am," or when she
has to take precedence of some unmarried lady older than
herself. She is anxious to be sufficiently dignified for her new
position, and sometimes ends by being a little too stately for her
age and experience. Time, which tries all things, will tone this
down after a while, and the bride will have gained a natural
manner long before the brand-new furniture of her house begins
to lose its appalling freshness.
A newly married couple have to receive visitors and pay calls,
as they are recommencing life in a new relation towards those
with whom they mingle.
It is the place of the friends to call first on a young couple.
The bride calls on no one till they have called on her. A bridal
At Home can be either given in the afternoon or evening ;
it is just like any other At Home, only that people make a
greater point of being present at it. Cake and wine are never
given at an afternoon reception, and the wedding-cake does
not appear upon the scene. The wedding presents are not
exhibited together, as on the bridal day, but are arranged in
their natural places about the house.
The invitations for a bridal At Home would be sent out
on a good-sked card. After every one has called on her the
bride will have to return their visits, leaving her card with her
At Home day written under her name or across the left-hand
corner of the top.
AT HOME. (ft
A bride does not necessarily take precedence in society, but it
is generally given her by courtesy at the first dinner parties to
which she is invited. She is sure to have a good deal of gaiety
just at first, for the friends of both parlie" will get up various
entertainments in her honour.
A bride must not, however, accept an invitation from any one
until they have called upon her first.
A KNOWLEDGE of good breeding is of the greatest importance
in the ball-room, and at no other place would any departure from
the laws of society be so severely reprimanded. The man who
behaved ill at a ball would never get another invitation, and the
hostess who forgot what was due to her guests in the enjoyment
of the moment would be liable to be looked upon very coldly
for the future. The ball-room furnishes for the youthful the
most charming of meeting-places, the most delightful form of
recreation, and it would be a pity for a girl to be deprived of her
full share of enjoyment through ignorance of the laws of
etiquette. Once mastered, these laws are sufficiently easy to
practise ; but it is fatal to hesitate between the right and wrong
way of doing a thing until the moment for decision is over, and
the indiscretion is too late to recall. To the Society belle the
ball-room is a scene of triumph, where she is at ease and
happy, and completely in her element. The country girl,
watching her, envies her aplomb, and feels she would give up all
her good looks for the tenth part of her rival's confidence.
Assurance is scarcely in itself a charm, yet it is necessary if we
desire to make the most of ourselves and our gifts. Hesitation
is fatal to success, and ignorance is never a state of mind to be
respected. Good manners are an unmistakable charm, and one
which will endure after every other grace has faded. Good
looks can scarcely fail to make an agreeable impression at start-
ing ; but a young lady will need something more than these if
she intends to become a successful woman of the world.
Balls are of two kinds public and private.
Those called public take different forms. There is the charity
ball, military ball, race ball, and county ball, and what may
be called the public or subscription ball. The latter is
generally given in public assembly-rooms, and admission is
obtained by a ticket obtained beforehand from the committee.
PUBLIC BALLS. IO1
Much care must be taken to secure the selectness of these
assemblies or they can never be successful. The best way is to
include the names of several ladies of distinction amongst the
patronesses, from whom vouchers for tickets have to be ob-
tained. County balls begin in November, and are generally
continued till the beginning of Lent. The winter is also the
most popular time for public balls in town, with the single ex-
ception of the Caledonian Ball, which is given during the
season, and counted amongst its events.
A master of the ceremonies is an extinct functionary, never
likely to be brought to life again. His place is taken by a
number of stewards, whose duty it is to effect introductions.
It would not be etiquette for a man to accept the office of
steward, and then give himself up entirely to the enjoyment
of the evening. A really good steward must have eyes all over
the place, so that he may not fail to introduce partners to those
who are not dancing. He should assist in forming the sets, and
be willing to dance himself if a lady has no partner or a couple
no vis-a-vis. In short, a steward has a number of irregular duties
to perform, and is required to be useful as well as ornamental.
It would not be etiquette for a gentleman to go up to a young
lady with whom he was unacquainted, and ask her to dance.
He must first make his way to the steward (easily to be recog-
nized on account of his rosette of office and air of general im-
portance), and request him to effect the desired introduction.
The steward then takes him up to the young lady, and says,
" Miss So-and-So, may I introduce Mr. Asterisk?" The young
lady consents, both parties bow, and the steward leaves them
to their own resources.
Ladies who go to public balls generally form their own
parties beforehand, so that they have no occasion to depend
upon chance partners. The order of entering the ball-room is
the same as that at a private ball the ladies enter first, with the
gentlemen in attendance slightly in the rear. It would be
vulgar to enter a ball-room arrn-in-arm.
When the committee of management are arranging matters
at a public ball, they should see that the refreshments are in-
cluded in the price of the ticket. Nothing can be more un-
pleasant to a lady than to accept refreshments at a ball, and
102 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
then discover that they were being paid for by a comparative
It is correct to take your card of invitation with you to a
public ball, as a guarantee that you have been invited. It
would be the height of ignorance to do so at a private ball ;
but circumstances alter cases, and the presentation of vouchers
at a public ball may be instanced as a custom inaugurated
by society for the sake of mutual protection.
It is the lady of the house who gives the ball. The invita-
tions should be in her name, and the replies addressed to her.
The name of the host is included in no kind of invitation,
with the solitary exception of a dinner-party.
The invitations are sent out on ordinary At Home cards,
with "Dancing" in the right-hand corner. R.S.V.P. may be
added if the hostess is anxious to ensure an early reply. The
name of the invites should be written at the top of the card,
above the name of the hostess. The hour of the entertainment
would not be specified, for there is no regular time for corning
or going at a dance. All London balls begin late, because
people are dining out first. The guests begin to arrive at about
10.30, and leave about 2.30. In the good old days, people
used to go on dancing through the small hours ; but now
young people do not find they have sufficient energy for such a
mad dissipation of strength.
Invitations for a ball should be sent out about three weeks in
advance. The reply ought to be sent within a couple of days,
and should run as follows :
Wednesday, January 3.
Mr. Blank has much pleasure in accepting Mrs. Asterisk's
invitation for Monday evening, the 2ist instant.
It will be remarked that neither in the invitation or the answer
is the word "ball" or "dance" mentioned. The phrase "At
Home " is a euphuism which serves to cover every form of
entertainment, from "Ball" to "Reception."
If the ball-room is upstairs the hostess receives her guests at
ihe head of the staircase ; if it is downstairs, at the door of the
ball-room. The servant announces "Air, and Mrs. So-and-So."
ARRANGEMENTS FOR A BALL. 103
placing the name of the gentleman first in his announcement,
though as a matter of fact he enters last and is greeted after his
wife. The hostess shakes hands with all her guests, whether
she is previously acquainted with them or not ; this is because
she is the mistress of the house, and it is her place to put
every one she has invited on the footing of friendship.
Married ladies are usually attended by their husbands at balls,
but the rule is not necessarily observed. Unmarried ladies do
not go to balls alone, but are chaperoned by their mothers,
married sisters, or an elderly lady friend.
Refreshments must be provided for the guests during the
evening ; and as nothing should be handed round in the ball-
room, a refreshment-room is absolutely necessary.
Supper should be laid in a separate room. What it should
comprise must depend entirely on the taste and resources of
those who give the ball. Nothing upon the table should require
carving ; the poultry and game should be cut up beforehand and
held together by ribbons which only require severing.
Supper is generally announced about midnight, and the host
leads the way with the lady of highest rank present, and the
gentlemen usually take in the lady with whom they have just
Supposing that the supper-room is not sufficiently large to
accommodate the whole party at once, it would be an unspeak-
able piece of bad taste for the hostess to go in to supper as long
as she kept any other lady out by doing so.
ARRANGEMENTS FOR A BALL.
The arrangements for a ball involve a good deal of trouble,
but the hostess has the satisfaction of knowing that she is pro-
viding a species of entertainment which, if it be only moderately
well managed, can hardly fail to be successful. When you
invite people to large receptions you cannot see very much
of them, and if you give a Musical Evening some one is nearly
certain to be offended because they have not been asked to
sing, but if you ask young people to a dance you are certain
that they will enjoy themselves, and when once you have
effected the preliminary introductions the social machinery
works itself. But a good ball requires to be well thought-out
104 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
beforehand, so that everything may go smoothly when it comes
to the time.
The ball-room should be light, and well-ventilated. A square
room is better than one which is long and narrow, but a
medium between these extremes is best. Wax candles furnish
the most becoming light to the complexion, but care should be
taken that they are provided with bobcches so that they do not
drop over the dresses of the guests.
A good floor is one of the first essentials at a ball, and care
should be taken that the boards present no irregularity of surface.
The best way to prepare a floor for dancing is to scrub the boards
with very hot water, and then pour a quantity of milk over them
before they are perfectly dry. A parquet floor is perfection for
dancing on, and gives a pretty appearance to a ball-room.
Music is also a highly important factor in the enjoyment of a
dance, and care should be taken to secure a good pianist. Some
of the people who go out to play at balls have a touch which is
simply excruciating to listen to. If it is a large ball, four musi-
cians are generally engaged piano, cornet, violin, and 'cello.
The cornet is rather a noisy instrument, however, and if the rooms
are not very large it is better to have a string quartett. In any
case, the hostess should secure the attendance of a professional
pianist, because the guests ought not to be left to the mercy of
chance players, while it often happens that those who oblige out
of courtesy would prefer taking part in the dance.
The place occupied by the orchestra is understood to be the
top of the room, but it is not always convenient to adhere strictly
to this rule in a private room ; it is generally the end farthest
from the door. The point should be ascertained by the dancers,
as in all square dances the top couples lead off, and uncertainty
leads to confusion.
Guests are shown into the tea-room directly after they have
left their cloaks. The usual things provided in the refreshment-
room are tea and coffee, claret-cup, lemonade, biscuits and
ices. The refreshments are served by servants, who stand be-
hind the table as at a buffet.
At public balls the dance-programmes are generally placed on
a table outside the ball-room ; at a private ball they are generally
given to the guests by one of the daughters of the house.
ARRANGEMENTS FOR A BALL. IOfJ
Dance cards may be of any fanciful design selected by the
hostess ; but modern taste is inclined to favour plain and chaste
designs rather than florid. The old dance programmes were made
with two pages, the one containing the dances, and the other the
space for engagements. The two leaves, however, showed such a
decided disposition to part company before the evening was over
that a new kind of card has been introduced, a simple square,
made of the strongest millboard, with a hole bored at the left-
hand side for the purpose of attaching the pencil. No reliable
method has yet been discovered of inducing the pencil to cleave
to the cord, so that it is safer for gentlemen to be provided with
a pencil of their own, in case of accidents.
The name of the house where the ball is given is usually printed
on the cover of the programme, also the date on which the enter-
tainment takes place. Twenty-one dances is a convenient number
to arrange for. Supper causes a convenient break after the twelfth
dance, and "extra" dances (the happy refuge of the young lady
who has made up he r programme in haste to repent at leisure)
are played by the band during the progress of supper, often
rather a lengthy period in a house where only a very small
detachment of the guests can go in at a time.
There are several ways of serving a ball-supper. First there
is the ordinary sit-down supper, served at one long table, and
almost as elaborate an affair as a gigantic dinner-party. Then
there is the stand up supper, where the ladies sit round the
room and the gentlemen wait on them. Finally, there is the
plan of placing a number of little tables about the room, each
large enough for four people only. Each table is decked with
its little bouquet of flowers, and has a fowl and a jelly, or some-
thing of the kind on it. As fast as the tables are vacated, the
servants must make them ready again for new-comers.
A cloak-room for the ladies must be provided, and one or two
maids to receive the ladies' cloaks and to repair a torn dress, or
render any assistance that may be required. In this room there
should be a good supply of looking-glasses, and there should
also be plenty of hairpins, needles and thread, pins, and similar
A hat-room for gentlemen must not be forgotten ; and it is
best to provide tickets, numbered in duplicate, for all articles
1 06 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
left in the charge of the attendants. It is easy to have a double
set of tickets, numbered from one upwards ; one of these is
pinned on to the cloak or coat as it is handed in, and the
other given to the owner. By this means the property of each
guest is identified, and confusion at the time of departure is
LADIES' BALL-ROOM TOILETTES.
Freshness is the principal essential in a ball-dress, and un-
luckily it is a very expensive attribute to maintain. Brilliancy is
also desirable, for however simple our morning dress may be, it
is suitable to be handsomely attired in the evening. A tasteful
dress is not only befitting to one's self, but it may be regarded in
the light of a compliment to the hostess.
Married ladies usually wear handsome dresses in the evening ;
but airy fabrics are always permissible to girls. Most young
ladies wear a good deal of white or cream colour for full dress,
and pink and mauve or amber are all suitable to young people.
Ball-dresses should have low bodices and short sleeves, so as to
distinguish them from demi-toilette gowns. A good many
jewels are worn in the evening, diamonds particularly, but
young girls should beware of indulging in a too florid style of
dress, for just a little too much locket and bangle marks all the
difference between a lady and a barmaid.
It is now out of fashion to wear trains when dancing, and one
would think that such an inconvenient mode should never have
been adopted. A ball-dress should be as compact as it is pos-
sible to make it. If there are flowers in the haiv they must be
fixed in very firmly. The great point to be aimed at in a ball-
dress is to get something that shall look striking on entering
the room, and yet look neat and nice when leaving it.
All the accessories of the dress should be fresh and new.
Crumpled flowers, worn shoes, cleaned gloves, or a soiled opera-
cloak, would spoil the effect of the most brilliant coilette.
It may be well to notice that the sortie du bal is left in the
ladies' cloak-room, and never worn round the shoulders when
entering the room, either at a private or public ball.
The fan no longer hangs at the side with a card, as it is apt to
ETIQUETTE OF THE BALL-ROOM. 107
swing about and get in the way. It is considered more correct
to carry it in the hand.
No lady ever wears a watch and chain when she is attired in
EVENING DRESS FOR GENTLEMEN.
When a gentleman is invited out for the evening he need be
under no embarrassment as to what he shall wear. He has not
to sit down and consider whether he shall wear blue or pink, and
whether the Jones' will notice it if he wear the same attire three
times running. Fashion has ordained for him that he shall
always be attired in a black dress suit in the evening, only
allowing him a white waistcoat as an occasional relief to his
toilette. His necktie must be white, his gloves may be white or
light-coloured. An excess of jewellery is to be avoided, but he
may wear gold or diamond studs, and a watch-chain. He may
also wear a flower in his button-hole, for this is one of the few
allowable devices by which he may brighten up his attire.
Plain and simple as the dress is, it is a sure test of a gentle-
manly appearance. The man who dines in evening dress every
night of his life looks easy and natural in it, whereas the man
who takes to it late in life generally succeeds in looking like a
ETIQUETTE OF THE BALL-ROOM.
On entering the ball-room the guests proceed to pay their
respects to the lady of the house, and may then acknowledge
the presence of such friends as they find around them.
The daughters of the house must busy themselves with effect-
\ng introductions during the earlier part of the evening. They
rery seldom dance during the first two or three dances, unless
fhey are certain that all the other young ladies are provided
If a daughter of the house had accepted a partner, and then
discovered a lady sitting out, it would be etiquette for h?r to
transfer him to the other lady, first asking h'b leavs. If hs pro-
tested very much she would promise to dance with him later on.
A gentleman must not forget his " duty " dances. It is cor-
rect for him to dance with one of the daughters of the house,
108 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
and also with the daughters of ladies to whose house he has
lately been invited.
Once having procured a partner, he cannot be sufficiently
careful of her. He must never leave her until he restores her to
her chaperone. He must be careful to guard her against any
collisions whilst dancing, and give her his arm directly the dance
is finished. It would not be etiquette to walk up and down the
ball-room at the conclusion of the dance. One turn round the
room would be sufficient, and then the dancers would seek some
cooler retreat. The gentleman should ask his partner if she
would take any refreshment, and if she reply in the affirmative
he must see she is comfortably seated, and provided with all she
needs. He must stay with her all the time she is in the refresh-
ment-room, and escort her to her chaperone, and bow before
leaving her. A gentleman should always be up to time in keep-
ing his engagements, as it looks very ungracious to keep a
lady waiting after the music has begun. If the dance is a
"square," he should be expeditious in providing a vis-a-vis, as it
is very disagreeable to the lady to be left out in the cold.
It is not usual for gentlemen to ask ladies to dance unless they
are introduced by the hostess, or some mutual friend. We venture
to think this rule rather a foolish one, inasmuch as a hostess
ought not to invite to a ball any man who is not a fit partner
for any of the young ladies present. Such being the rule, how-
ever, a man is bound to hold by it ; and if he wishes to dance
with a young lady with whom he is not already acquainted, he
must go up to the hostess or some member of the family, and
request an introduction.
The gentleman then says, " May I have this dance ? " or " Are
you engaged for the next? " and the lady says, " I shall be very
happy," or "I am sorry I am engaged," as the case may be.
When the dance asked for is not actually in progress, the gentle-
man inscribes his name on the lady's programme, and her's
on his. Ladies' programmes do not require pencils, as it is the
gentleman who writes the engagement.
It is needless to say that a man does not write any prefix or
title to his name on these occasions, simply J. Smith, or J. S., as
FANCY BALLS. 109
When the gentleman comes to claim his partner he offers her
his right arm and leads her to the dance.
Etiquette is rather hard upon girls in the matter of dances.
They must not refuse one partner in order to dance with
another. If they refuse they must say that they are not
dancing this time. Choice is not allowed to a girl, she must
wait until somebody asks her, yet if he is the very worst dancer
in the room she must either accept him or sit out the dance.
For the prevention of this catastrophe programmes have been
invented, and a girl is able to account for a mistake by saying
that her programme had got into such a state of confusion
that she thought she was engaged when she was not.
Assemblies of this kind should be left quietly. If the party is
small it is permissible to bow to the hostess, but at a large ball
this is not necessary, unless you meet her in your way from the
room . The great thing is to avoid making your departure felt
as a suggestion for breaking up the party, as you have no right
to hint by your movements that you consider the entertainment
has been kept up long enough.
No gentleman should presume on a ball-room introduction,
for out of the ball-room it has no force whatever. It applies,
strictly speaking, to the evening on which it is made, and
whether it extends any further is entirely dependent on the will
of the lady.
The invitations for a fancy ball should be sent out at least a
month in advance, so as to give people sufficient time in which
to choose their costumes.
A good deal of play of fancy is allowed in the invitations for
a fancy dress ball. The cards are generally of goodly size,
and embellished with some quaint figure in old costume, and
the invitation is printed in Old English letters. But whatever
the card is like, one thing is obligatory, the words "Fancy
Dress " must appear at the bottom, opposite to the word
It would be very bad taste to go to a fancy ball in plain
110 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
evening dress. If you cannot comply with the conditions of the
invitation you should stay away.
With regard to the dress to be selected the scope is endless.
Any one who has been to a fancy ball knows what a medley
the scene presents. Mephistopheles dances with the Puritan
maiden, and the fish-wife with a gay cavalier. Ophelia whirls
through the giddy scene in company with Shylock, or a
Venetian senator threads the mazes of the dance in company
with a very modern looking Nancy Lee. Only one restriction
is placed upon the fancy, that nothing should be chosen which
is not in perfectly good taste.
If an historical dress cannot be carried out quite correctly it is
better not to attempt it. A common fault with most fancy
dresses is that they are too glaring in colour. The hired dress
is quickly known by its raw blue, its brilliant purple, its pro-
fusion of spangles and gold lace. Softer colours are much more
refined, and are far more effective in a brightly clad crowd.
Georgian dress is extremely becoming, and looks particularly
well in white ; Charles costume is graceful, but very few faces
can stand the method of arranging the hair. A little vanity
is not out of place at a fancy ball, and if a young lady has
very long hair she is quite justified in going as Ophelia, but a
plain woman should not appear as Queen of Hearts, nor an
elderly lady dress up as a shepherdess.
Processions often form a prominent feature in fancy balls.
Some of them begin with a Polonaise, while others have a
kind of march round the reception-rooms just before supper.
This gives an opportunity for showing off the dresses, which are
frequently hidden in a crowded dance.
When a march occurs it is correct for the characters to carry
their crooks, wands, milking-stools, or any other property, apper-
taining to their dress.
As many of these things are much in the way whilst dancing,
and are apt to get lost when left about in the ball-room, many
hostesses provide a stand in the hall for their reception. It
should be lighter than an ordinary umbrella-stand, consisting of
a slight frame covered with artificial flowers.
CINDERELLA DANCES. Ill
A Cinderella dance has little in common with the fairy heroine
from whom it takes its name.
There is no gorgeous banquet, such as Cinderella must un-
doubtedly have partaken of in the princely halls where she danced
away both her heart and her slipper, neither is there any necessity
for quite such dazzling attire as she is said to have worn on that
occasion. But the entertainment consists of nothing but dancing,
which is fully as dear to girls of the present day as it was in
ancient times to Cinderella. So in memory of this patron saint
there is dancing and nothing but dancing at these parties, and
here is where the chief point of resemblance comes in on
no account must the revel be prolonged after the clock has
There are certain other laws connected with the Cinderella
dance ; laws which are like those of the Medes and Persians,
and must never be broken through. Refreshments are given
towards the end of the evening, but an effectual bar to the pro-
vision of anything which is inconveniently costly is found in the
fact that nothing may be given which cannot be eaten with a fork
alone. No knives must be laid. Champagne is not necessary
at a Cinderella, the beverages consisting chiefly of coffee and
tea, claret-cup, and lemonade. The " things to be eaten with a
fork" necessarily narrow down into sandwiches, pates, jellies,
and sweets of various kinds. Ices and fruit may be added if
The invitations are sent out on a good-sized card ; the guest's
name is written at the top. Immediately underneath is the name
of the hostess, above the printed words " At Home." The date
of the entertainment is written in the left-hand corner, and in the
opposite corner, " Dancing," with "Cinderella" beneath it, or
" Dancing, eight till twelve," according to taste,
The Cinderella is pre-eminently a young people's dance. The
mothers are off duty, and the chaperone is at rest. As long as
the Cinderella is given at a private house, a girl may quite well
go with her brother or sister to an affair so informal. Very
112 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
few square dances are given at a Cinderella ; the programme
is given up almost entirely to valses, as they are what young
people like best.
It is not etiquette to arrive late, for it is absurd to lose
anything of an entertainment when the whole thing is over so
soon. People fill up their programmes early on these occasions,
and those who go late get little chance of partners.
The number of dances patronised in the modern ball-room
is exceedingly few. In old-fashioned etiquette books we find a
lengthy list of country dances, and an infinite variety of fancy
The Spanish dance is now only to be discovered at children's
classes, the Cellarius and Varsoviana are numbered amongst the
things of the past, and of the variety cf dances which once held
the floor the only survivors are the valse and polka, the quad-
rille and the Lancers. Old people will regret some of the dances
of their youth, but their juniors will probably hold that it is an
example of the survival of the fittest.
Valses form the staple commodity of the modern dance-
programme, and the announcement of "square" is the usual
signal for all the young couples to fly from the ball-room. The
hostess should be careful, however, to include a few quadrilles or
Lancers in the programme for the benefit of those who do not
The quadrille can never go entirely out of fashion as long as
it is always placed first on the list at Buckingham Palace. A
State ball invariably opens with a quadrille, danced by the persons
of highest rank present, but in lower circles of society it is more
usual to begin with a valse, as a quadrille is considered rather a
A general misunderstanding seems to exist as to the position
of the "top" or principal couple in the quadrille. The best
rule to observe is the following : Taking a room lengthways,
the top couple should always have the fireplace on their right,
and the top couple of the sides are those on the right of the top
SQUARE DANCES. 113
couple of the set. If this simple rule be rigidly adhered to,
much confusion may be avoided.
When the gentleman has engaged his partner, he should at
once try to secure a vis-a-vis. This should be done promptly,
as the "sets " are frequently so soon made up, that he may find
himself standing in an incomplete set, and have the mortification
of having to lead his partner back to her seat again.
Having secured his vis-d-vis, he should at once lead the
lady to the post of honour namely, the top of the quadrille
placing her always on his right hand. He should pay her every
attention during the dance, taking care to avoid any collisions
with the opposite couple if the room is crowded, and never
detailing her a moment after she ought to be starting off to her
K would be well to remember that the music for the quadrille
is/divided into eight bars for each section of the figure thus,
f'.vo steps should, properly speaking, be taken to each bar, and
every movement consist of four or eight steps.
With these few preliminary observations, we will commence
our description of the quadrille popularly known as the "First
First Figure Le Pantalon.
The top and bottom couples cross to each other's places in
eight steps (tour bars), returning immediately to places, com-
pleting the movement in eight bars. This is called the Chaine
Atiglaise (i.e., opposite couples right and left), and in performing
it the gentleman should bear in mind always to keep to the
right of the vis-d-vis lady in crossing.
Top and bottom couples set to partners, taking four steps to
the right, then four to the left, in a straight line (this occupying
four bars of the music), the gentleman then turning the lady
round, taking her right hand in his, in four bars more. Here
follows ladies' chain (eight bars more). Each gentleman takes his
partner by the hand and crosses to opposite couple's place (four
114 I'HE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
bars) ; this is called by the dancing-masters "half promenade."
Couples then re-cross right and left to their places without
giving hands (another four bars), which completes the figure.
The latter eight bars of this figure are sometimes danced with
the galop step.
The side couples repeat as above.
When there are more than two couples, either at the top or
side, it is customary to alternate the arrangement in order to
give variety to the dance. Thus the lady who is at the top of
the quadrille in her own set finds her vis-a-vis in the adjoining
set occupying that position.
Second Figure L'Et<*.
This figure is always danced in the manner known as Double
I Ett. Top and bottom couples advance and retire (four bars),
then change places with their vis-a-vis (making eight bars),
but omitting to cross over as in the Chaine Anglaise. Again
advance and retire (four bars) back to places, and set to
partners. This completes the figure.
The side couples repeat.
Third Figure La Poule.
Top lady and vis-a-vis gentleman change places ; return
immediately, giving the left hand (eight bars) and retaining it
in that position. Each one then gives the right hand to partner's
right, the couples thus forming a line, each with their faces
different ways. In this manner all four balancez quatre en
ligne (set four in a line), half promenade with partner to
opposite place ; top lady and vis-a-vis gentleman advance
and retire four steps, repeat the movement, only bowing slightly
to one another the second time that they advance. Both couples
advance together and retire, then cross right and left to places
(third eight bars). Second lady and vis-a-vis gentleman go
through the figure.
Side couples repeat.
Fourth Figure La Pastorale.
Top gentleman takes his partner by left hand ; they advance
SQUARE DANCES. 115
and retreat ; he advances again, leaving the lady with vis-a-vis
gentleman and retiring to his own place. Vis-a-vis gentleman
now advances four paces and retreats the same, holding each
lady by the left hand ; again advancing, he leaves the two ladies
with the top gentleman, who once more advances. They then all
join hands in a circle, half promenade to opposite places, return-
ing right and left to their own.
Second couple and sides repeat.
Fifth Figure La Finale.
This figure commences with the grand rond. All join hands,
and advance and retreat four steps. Each gentleman then takes
his lady as if for a galop, and advance and retreat four steps,
then cross to opposite places. Advance and retreat as before,
and return to own places ; ladies chain, concluding with the
Side couples repeat.
This is a variation of the first set, which is often danced when
there are a great many couples taking part. The peculiarity is
that all the couples start at once. There are no sides, all the
dancers forming in two long lines along the room.
The Parisians require the ordinary quadrille musie, but only
half that usually played to each figure. The only figure which is
much affected by the change is the second one, which is danced
with single instead of double V Et. The first lady and (what
would be in an ordinary quadrille) the first side lady commence
at the same time to perform the figure with their vis-a-vis.
The sides repeat, with top and bottom couples in like manner.
The Lancers are the most popular of all the square dances, and
they thoroughly deserve their position. There is a great deal of
variety in the figures, -and some of them are particularly pretty.
What can be more imposing than the episode in the third figure,
where the four ladies advance in the centre and make a profound
curtesy to one another a curtesy so deep and long that it
Il6 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
may almost be said to be the solitary surviving relic of the
low reverences which distinguished the minuet. The ladies
walk slowly up, with the light shining on their erect figures
and sparkling jewels ; they sink slowly down, till their dresses
present one billowy circle of lace and tulle ; the music waits till
they have completed their curtesy, and the men look on like
awkward outsiders or the inferior beings of another sphere.
Surely there could be no completer example of the subjugation
of man, and its inventor should have a vote of thanks from all
who believe in the supremacy of the fair sex.
The Lancers are more intricate than the First Set, so it behoves
all who assail them to be specially careful to be quite perfect in
the figures, bearing in mind that a single mistake will frequently
spoil the entire quadrille. Very little assistance is to be gained
by taking sides in the Lancers, because the movements of the
sides often occur simultaneously with those of the top. Each
dancer must therefore study to be perfect, and to play his part
with grace and spirit.
Top lady and vis-a-vis gentleman advance and retire ; advance
again ; join hands, and turn and retire to places (first eight
bars). Top couple join hands and cross to opposite side, opposite
couple crossing outside them. The same reversed, and retire to
places (second eight bars). All set to corners, each gentleman
turning his neighbour's partner back to her place (third eight
Second couple repeat the above, followed by the sides.
Top gentleman takes his partner by the left hand ; advance
and retire ; advance again, leaving her in the centre of the set,
and retire to his place (first eight bars). Balances, and turn
to places (second eight bars). Side couples join top and bottom
couples, making a line of four on each side ; advance and retire
four steps ; advance again, each gentleman turning partner to
Second couple and sides repeat.
SQUARE DANCES. 117
The four ladies advance to the centre, and make a slow, pro-
found curtesy to one another (first eight bars). Return to places.
The four gentlemen now advance to the centre, and join hands
and dance round in a circle, each lady resting her right hand on
her partner's arm. Retire to places. Gentlemen advance to the
centre, turn round and bow to their partners, who slowly approach
them. Each gentleman then joins his left hand to that of the
gentleman opposite him, and places his right arm round his
partner's waist, the lady placing her left hand on her partner's
shoulder. Chassez round to left, and then retire to places.
The figure is repeated four times altogether.
Top gentleman leads his lady by the left hand to the couple
on the right, to whom they bow, crossing over immediately to
the left couple and bowing to them.
The two ladies join right hands, the two gentlemen join right
hands underneath, and dance half round ; the same with the left
hands. The two couples then join hands and dance round, then
retire to places (second eight bars). Whilst this is going on the
second gentleman takes his lady in a similar manner to the couple
on his right, and crosses over to the opposite couple (third eight
bars). This figure is repeated three times more, each couple
having the privilege of commencing it in turn.
This figure commences with the music, only one preparatory
chord being sounded, so that each gentleman should stand with
his right hand in that of his partner ready to start. It begins
with the gran >de chaine that is, each gentleman gives his light
hand to his partner, presenting his left to the next lady, and so
on alternately right round till all have once more reached their
places (sixteen bars). A slight pause should be made when you
meet your partner in the course of the chain. Top couple form
as if for a galop, taking one turn round, returning to their places
with their backs to their vis-a-vis, Third, fourth, and s:con4
Il8 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
couples fall in behind them in the order indicated (third eight
bars). All chassez croissez. Top lady leads off to the right
and her partner to the left, each respectively followed by all
the couples, till they reach the bottom of the quadrille, where
they join hands and fall into two lines, four gentlemen and four
ladies facing one another (fourth eight bars). Each line then
advances and retreats at the same time. Turn partners to places
(fifth eight bars), and finish with i\\e grande chaine.
Second couple and sides repeat.
THE SIXTEEN LANCERS.
Eight couples stand in a square of two couples on each side.
Two top ladies and their vis-a-vis gentlemen advance and
retire ; advance again, join hands, turn, and retire to places.
The leading couple at the top and leading couple at reverse
corner at bottom join hands and cross over, while the opposite
couples cross outside them to their places. Each gentleman sets
to the lady on his left, and the lady to the gentleman on her right,
Repeated by all the dancers.
The top and bottom leading couples advance and retire. They
advance again, and leave the ladies in the centre, each opposite
her partner. They balaneez, and then turn to places. Sides
divide, and fall back right and left. All join hands in two
opposite rows. Turn partners to places.
Repeated to end of figure.
Eight ladies advance and curtesy slowly to music, then retire ;
gentlemen advance, take hands, and dance round in a ring, their
partners being outside the circle, each lady with her right hand
on her partner's arm. Retire to places. Then the gentlemen
advance to the centre and turn towards their partners, bowing to
them, join left hands across, put right arms round their partner's
waist, and dance round as before, retiring to places.
SQUARE DANCES. 1 19
Leading top couple "visit" the side couples on their right,
cross to left, chassez cr&issez with couple to left (or execute the
movement given for this figure in the instructions for Single
Lancers), and return to places. The leading bottom couple in
reverse corner do the same ; top and bottom couples right and
Same repeated by sides.
Every alternate couple step inwards, so as to form an inner
set, top gentleman signifying who is to be "inside" and who
" out." The grand chain is performed by both inner and outer
circle at the same time. Top and bottom right-hand couples
promenade inside figure, returning to places with their backs to
their vis-a-vis ; side couples fall in, forming four lines of four
ladies and four gentlemen, all chassez croisscz ; the ladies and
gentlemen then turn off from each other down the room ; they
meet at the bottom of the room, and follow the leading couple
to the top, joining hands. They then divide in two lines one
of ladies, one of gentlemen ; advance and retire, turn partner to
place ; and then grand chain.
Repeated by each couple.
The Caledonians are not very often danced at private balls,
but they figure in the programme at public ones. The figures
are very tiresome to remember, and any person who can master
them should command the profoundest respect of his generation.
In case any of our readers desire this consummation, we append
a sketch of the figures.
First couple and their vis-a-vis join right hands across, half
round, same with left, and back again. Set to partners, and
turn; then ladies' chain. Half promenade to opposite places
and half right ; left back again.
Side couples repeat.
120 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
First gentleman advances and retires twice. Each gentleman
sets to the lady on his left hand, and then promenades round with
her to place. The other gentlemen repeat as above till each lady
is brought back to her original partner, in her own place.
First lady and opposite gentleman advance and retire, advance
again, and turn with both hands to places. Top couple lead
between second couple, with hands joined, and back again,
allowing the second couple to pass inside them. Set to corners
and turn. All join hands, advance, and retire ; turn partners to
Second couple and sides repeat.
First lady and vis-a-vis gentleman advance four steps and stop ;
second lady and first gentleman do the same. Each gentleman
turns partner to place. All the ladies then move to the right,
the gentlemen to the left, to their neighbours' place four steps ;
another four steps, and they meet their original partners. Pro-
menade and turn to places.
Second couple and sides repeat.
Top couple promenade round. Four ladies advance to centre,
curtesy, and retire. Gentlemen advance and retire in a similar
manner. Set, and turn partners. Grand chain half round, pro-
menade to places, and turn partners. All chassez croissez, and
retire to places. Second couple and sides repeat, and the whole
is concluded with grand promenade.
The second figure of the Caledonians is occasionally sub-
stituted for the last figure of the quadrille, under the title of
the Flirtation Figure.
The waltz is the favourite dance of modern times, and has
held its own for the last fTty years. Not only has it retained its
place as Qi.een of the Ball-room, but it shows every disposition
THE WALTZ. 121
to turn all other interlopers from the field. Good waltzing
means good dancing, and you cannot be said to dance unless
you waltz. In recent times the waltz has put all rivals in the
background, and occupies the position of a monopolist in the
programme. But however many waltzes were placed on a pro-
gramme, a good dancer would never complain of their monotony ;
the form of the waltz being so flexible that plenty of variety can
be secured in its performance. A good waltzer should be able to
revolve in any direction without losing step, to go down the side
of a room in a straight line backwards or forwards, to reverse
for a time if it is necessary, in order to get out of a crowd.
Long smooth steps are sometimes the most suitable, while at
other times the couple may hover with short steps upon a narrow
space, as a butterly flutters over a flower. The gentleman
should study to steer well, so as to avoid the chance of any
collision. His eyes must be watchful of the movements of the
other dancers, and he must be expert in contrivances for getting
rapidly out of the way. The lady must trust implicitly to the
guidance of her partner, and be ready to alter her step into
conformity with his.
Although it is highly necessary to learn the art of reversing, it
is exceedingly bad style to indulge in it for no reason. It may be
d.one occasionally for the sake of variety, but its principal use is
for the avoidance of collisions. When people reverse through
the whole of a dance, they are apt to get in the way of all the
other couples, and also lay themselves open to the charge of
With regard to t'.ie step to be danced, it is impossible to give
any exact directions. A new waltz step is introduced every
season, and the last step is voted old-fashioned. Once acquire
the habit of waltzing, as laid down in the following directions,
and you will find it easy to acquire the variations which fashion
may suggest from time to time.
The Trot's Temps.
The chief characteristic of the trois temps step is that it con-
tains a waltz step for each beat of the bar. The performance of
122 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
the step necessitates two bars of music, the first one taking the
dancer half round the circle, the second completing it. The
following forms the simplest way of learning the trois temps,
which can afterwards be modified as occasion demands.
First slide the left foot into the second position, resting the
weight of the body on the left leg. Next draw the right foot to
the fifth position behind the left leg. Now revolve half round
in a backward direction towards the right, on the ball of the
left foot, without permitting the toes of the right to leave the
floor. The latter foot will pass in front by this means. Now
slide the right foot to the fourth position, balancing the body on
the right leg, revolve half a circle forward on the sole of the right
foot, with the left leg extended at second position, finally resting
lightly on the left foot, glide the right foot forward in front.
The above is the description of the steps for the gentleman,
the lady's steps would be just the same only that she would
begin with the right foot, and execute the last three steps of the
movement while her partner was performing the first three.
The feet must never be raised from the floor, and perfect
balance is indispensable.
In reversing, the method is as follows. The gentleman first
glides left foot to fourth position, next revolves forward on left
foot, and points right at second position ; he then glides left
foot in front to third position, glides right foot to second
position, draws left foot behind to third position, and revolves
half round backwards on his right foot. The lady's step is
similar only that she commences with the last three movements
instead of the first. A common fault in reversing is to hold the
body too stiffly, and not to turn sufficiently in the direction in
which the feet are going. In learning it is better to bear this in
mind, even exaggerating the motion for the sake of acquiring
the habit. It is natural to turn towards the right in dancing, so
that one has not to think so much of the direction in which one
is going, but when reversing a very strong turn towards the left
must be given to the body, or the dancer will never get round.
Steps should be industriously practised at home, as well as at
THE SCOTCH REEL. 123
When no partner is procurable, the beginner will do well to
practise with a chair, holding it with its back towards him with
his two hands. The slight weight steadies him, and enables
him to see the direction in which he is proceeding, and he
cannot career about in that indefinite manner which is the
danger of solitary practice.
THE WALTZ COTILLON.
The Waltz Cotillon has always been a favourite with good
dancers, and it makes a pleasant change from the ordinary
quadrille. The dance consists of one figure repeated four times,
each couple leading in rotation. All the movements must be
performed with the waltz step, and the steps must be neatly
executed; so that the dancers do not get out of time. The
movements used are as follows :
First couple waltz twice round inside the set. Top and
bottom ladies change places, their partners the same. Side
ladies change places, their partners the same. Top and bottom
couples waltz to places. Side couples the same.
Waltz Chain : Presenting right hand to partners, all balanct,
and pass on to the next person with a complete waltz-turn,
repeating the movements until all arrive at their own places.
Couples all march once round the set. All waltz round to
The following movements may be introduced after the waltz
chain in lieu of the march, but they are not so popular as the
movements already given. Form lines top and bottom.
Advance and retire. All cross over to opposite sides. Re-
advance and retire. All cross over to places. When third or
fourth couples lead, lines are formed at the side.
THE SCOTCH REEL.
The beautiful Duchess of Gordon is credited with the intro-
duction of the Scotch reel into London society. At one time it
was extremely popular, but now it is seldom seen except at the
Caledonian Ball. But the agility and precision required for the
124 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
performance of the steps makes the reel invaluable as a means
of instruction, and it should certainly be learnt by girls in their
teens, as it encourages lightness and grace. It would be
impossible to describe the steps in detail, as they are very
numerous and varied, but the movement on which most of the
others are founded is as follows :
i. Spring upward with both feet, pointing the right in the
second position. 2. Hop on the left foot with the right passed
behind. The general outline of the dance is as follows :
THE REEL OF FOUR.
The dancers are divided into sets of four, and stand so as to
form a line, the ladies standing back-to-back with their partners
facing them, or vice versa. The ladies and gentlemen pass
each other so as to form the shape of the figure 8, the gentlemen
passing the ladies on the right. If two ladies or two gentlemen
meet in the centre they pass each other on the left. The move-
ment is continued until all the dancers return to places, the
ladies in the centre finishing opposite a fresh partner.
During the next eight bars all the dancers set to each other,
introducing any fancy steps in which they particularly excel.
The figure of eight (otherwise known as the " reel" or "chain")
is then repeated, and the dance goes on until every one is tired.
TRE REEL OF TULLOCH.
This is slightly more varied than the Reel of Four, and the
" Hullachan" is peculiar to this dance. The "Hullachan" is
performed in the following manner. Each dancer passes his
right arm under that of his partner, so as to grasp the left hand
which is placed behind her back ; they then swing round to the
right for the duration of four bars ; next reversing the position
of the arms they swing round to the left for the same period.
This dance is very seldom seen on a modern programme, but
is excellent practice for beginners. At one part of the step the
Weight of the body is thrown on to one foot while the other one
o slightly raised, and the effect must be very bad if the balance
THE POLKA. 125
is net evenly maintained. In Poland the mazurka is even
more flexible than the waltz, and occasionally becomes almost
a ballet d 'action in which a number of varying ideas are sug-
gested to the audience. In England the mazurka has become
regular and demure, and is seldom seen except at juvenile
The mazurka is made up of three separate motions, which
may be defined as a slide, a change, and a hop. A lady in
commencing this dance slides sideways with the right foot on
the first beat of the bar, brings up the left on the second, and
holds the right foot from the floor during the third beat, while
the hop is being made on the left. The three motions are then
continued in the same direction, with the exception of holding
the foot from the floor, which is never done during the second
bar. During the first bar no turn occurs ; in the second, the
turn is the same as in the polka. The same movements are
continued throughout ; two bars commencing with the right
foot and two with the left.
No dance has undergone greater vicissitudes than the polka.
Coming in the first instance from the Continent, it enjoyed at
one time the distinction of being the best-abused dance of the
period. After having been given over to very juvenile dancers
or very old ones, the polka is rising again to the surface, and a
few polkas in a dance programme are found to tend a good
deal to the enlivenment of the evening.
Whilst the polka should not be danced in too violent a
manner, a certain amount of animation is required to give it its
own peculiar character. It is rather a straight dance,/ and
should not be made too circular. The modern habit of chassez-
iiig in straight lines down the length of the room imparts a
pleasant variety to the dance, and is delightful to execute when
the room is not too full.
A polka is written in four time, but with a very strong accent
on the third beat. In old-fashioned polkas the unvarying repe-
tition of this accent occasioned the most painful monotony, but
126 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
the modern musician employs all the devices of his art to conceal
this defect. Covered or not, the accent is there, and must be
expressed in the dance, if not in the music.
There are four beats to each bar, with a marked accent on the
third beat. Three steps are performed on the first three beats,
the fourth is a rest.
First beat. Advance your right foot, at the same time rising
on the toe of your left with a springing motion. Second beat,
Bring left foot forward, so that the inner hollow of it touches
the heel of right foot, and, as it touches, raise right foot. Thira
beat. Slide right foot forward, and balance the body on it, while
the left foot is slightly raised with the knee bent, ready to start
with the left foot after next beat. Fourth beat. Rest on right
With the next bar, start off with the left foot, and repeat the
step, then with the right, alternating the feet at each bar.
The gentleman reverses the order of the feet.
The cotillion has long been a favourite abroad, but it has only
been recently introduced into this country. It has been doubted
whether we possess sufficient vivacity of temperament to make
us thoroughly enter into the spirit of this dance ; but the marked
predilection bestowed upon it by the Prince of Wales has led to
its adoption amongst the upper classes, and it is probable that
the cotillion will grow in favour in England, along with many
other Continental fashions.
The cotillion is a peculiarly social dance, as it requires a con-
stant interchange of partners. The number of available figures
is innumerable, and it rests with the leader if he chooses to
invent new ones. Many of these figures are chiefly useful as a
vehicle for flirtation, but some of them are very graceful, and
present an agreeable change from ordinary dances.
The cotillion commences by eight or sixteen bars of a waltz
being played as a signal to take seats. The leader of the
cotillion and his partner seat themselves first, the other couples
seat themselves to the left of the leader, the gentlemen bJng
careful to place their partners always at their right hand. The
chairs are placed right round the room, forming a circle, and it
is in the centre of this circle that the dancing takes place.
The music goes on without stopping, from beginning to end.
An equal number of ladies and gentlemen should take part in
the cotillion, or much confusion is likely to ensue.
The couples being duly seated in the places, the leader of the
cotillion selects from amongst the company half the number of
dancers he will require, telling them to select partners from
among those who are seated. The manner of selection is the
vehicle for nearly all the amusement which belongs to a cotillion.
The figure chosen by the conductor can be repeated by each
couple in turn, but four or five repetitions are usually found to be
sufficient, for monotony is above everything to be avoided .
After the completion of the figure a general waltz takes place, in
which all may join. As the exigences of the figure often require
that some of the ladies should be seated alone it is allowable for
any gentleman to invite them to dance. It is not etiquette to
invite a lady who is seated with her partner unless in the regular
selection of partners for a figure.
The conductor claps his hands once when he desires the danc-
ing to cease. If a couple were dancing at the time they would
not immediately stop, but would waltz on until the lady's seat
was reached, when the gentleman would leave her, and return to
his own place. It would be ill-bred to continue waltzing round
the room after the signal had been given.
The music goes on the whole time, so that the more variety
that can be infused into it the better. But the signal for taking
seats should always be the same, as this saves the conductor a
good deal of trouble.
The signals of the conductor are as follows : clap hands once
for the dancing to cease ; twice, for a movement to be commenced ;
thrice, for the music to stop if the couples continue to waltz after
the first signal. The leader having so much to do it is necessary
that he should be a person of great resource, lively and com -
manding, good-tempered and decisive. His partner should also
be a person of ability, as she has to take a leading part in the
figures. A wise conductor generally places a few intelligent
128 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
couples near his own seat, so that he may have some one on
whom to rely.
The cotillion possessing some figures which are apt to make
people look a little ridiculous, it is necessary that all who intend
to take part in it should come possessed of an imperturbable
temper. The object of such an entertainment would be entirely
defeated did sulkiness and bad temper appear where only inno-
cent gaiety was intended.
The hostess provides all favours and flowers and whatever
properties may be required in the course of the cotillion. A
distribution of presents usually takes place in the last figure of
all, the hostess bringing them in in a fancy basket, or wheeling
them into the room in a gilded barrow. The presents may be of
any description fancied by the hostess ; fans and bouquets are
frequently provided for the ladies, and pins and button-holes for
the gentleman. Sometimes gifts of great value are presented,
but this would be considered unnecessary ostentation unless the
host and hostess were exceptionally wealthy.
A list of some of the most popular figures of the cotillion is
given below ; but any person of fertile imagination could easily
add to them if required.
FIGURES REQUIRING NO ACCESSORIES.
The lady selects two gentlemen from the seated circle ; the
gentleman two ladies. The two trios place themselves at a
distance from one another, advance, and each person waltzes
with the one opposite.
The gentleman places his lady in the centre of the room, with
a gentleman behind her (back to back) ; then a lady facing the
gentleman, and so on till four couples are formed. When the
leader claps his hands twice all turn round, and each gentleman
dances with the lady opposite him.
Three ladies place themselves one in front of the other, hold-
ing together in a line by means of each one placing her hands
upon the wrists of the lady in front of her. A gentleman is
THE COTILLION. 1 29
then placed in front of the first lady, and ordered to catch the
last lady in the line. The ladies who are in front try to
prevent this ; and if, after a short trial, the wolf cannot catch
his lamb, he must yield his place to another. If he is success-
ful he dances with the lady : the other ladies' partners come
away from the seated circle, and join them in the dance.
The False Invitation.
One couple promenades round the room until they stop in
front of one of the seated gentlemen, whom the lady invites to
d mce with her.
Directly he responds, she turns off in another direction, and
invites somebody else ; all the deceived gentlemen following in
her train until somebody is finally accepted.
The Rejected Ladies.
A gentleman kneels in the middle of the room, and his
partner presents several ladies to him in turn. Those whom he
rejects have to stand behind his chair, until one is chosen, with
whom he dances.
The Forsaken Gentleman.
The lady stands alone in the centre of the room, and her
partner dances round her with one lady and two gentlemen. The
first lady then selects one gentleman, the second one another,
leaving one gentleman standing "forlorn," like the heroine of
The Choice of Fingers.
A number of ladies are placed behind a screen, and are
only allowed to stretch their first fingers beyond it. Gentle-
men are then led up to the screen, and each one is obliged to
lead a lady out by her first finger and dance with the partner
thus chosen. Whether the keen eye of love would recognize his
divinity by such a slight revelation is a question not easily to
be answered ; but we are afraid that the chances are greatly
FIGURES WITH ACCESSORIES.
A book inscribed with a number of absurd phrases is placed
in the hands of a lady, who is seated in the centre of the
130 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
room. Gentlemen come up, and invite her to dance, but they
must find their answer in the book by inserting a long needle at
haphazard in its pages. Whether they are accepted or not de-
pends upon the contents of the selected page, which may
be either "Joyfully," or "No; I cannot dance." When a
gentleman is accepted, another lady takes the place of the
A lady is seated in the centre, and two gentlemen are pre-
sented for her acceptance She selects one, and hands her fan
to the other. She then dances with the first, while the second
follows and fans her.
A lady is seated before a mirror. Each gentleman comes and
looks over her shoulder in turn. If she does not like him, she
takes her lace pocket-handkerchief as if to wipe his reflection
off the mirror. If she accepts him, she rises. The rejected
gentlemen have to stand behind her chair until she has chosen
the favoured one, when they go and seek other partners.
A lady stands in the centre of the room with two aprons in her
hand. Two gentlemen are presented to her, and she gives each
an apron, rolled up in a complicated manner. Whoever can
first unroll his apron and tie it round his waist dances with
A large hoop, covered with tissue paper, is held up by two
gentlemen. A lady stands at some little distance behind it.
The first gentleman who can spring through the hoop dances
with the lady behind it. She must not stand too near the hoop
for fear of accidents.
The hostess provides an envelope full of ribbon favours for
each member of the party. A lady presents one of the bows to
the gentleman with whom she wishes to dance; her partner
presents one to the lady he selects, and so with each couple
THE BARN DANCE. 13!
The Enchanted Circle.
Six large frames covered with tissue paper are placed in the
middle of the room. Five ladies are placed behind them, so
as to be entirely concealed. Six gentlemen kneel upon one
knee in front of the screens. The conductor claps his hands
twice, and the ladies step through the screens, each one
dancing with the gentleman whom she finds in front of her. As
there are only five ladies, one gentleman is left without a
partner. He has to step through the remaining screen and
look on whilst the rest dance.
THE BARN DANCE.
The barn dance was first introduced in America under the
title of the Military Schottische, and it received its present name
because it was always danced to a negro melody called
" Dancing on the Barn-floor." An American gentleman, who
was spending a season in London, heard the music of the
Gaiety pas de quatre, and at once exclaimed, "How well that
tune would do for the barn dance!" Pressed to explain, he
showed the steps of the dance. Every one tried to learn it at
once, it spread through London like wild-fire, and the dance
became the rage. The steps are simplicity itself, but the
movement is so lively and the effect so pretty, that young people
have welcomed it as an agreeable change from the more formal
The steps are simply as follows : During the first two bars the
partners advance side by side, the gentleman holding the lady's
right hand in his left, and both advance in the following
manner. Three steps forward and a hop (twice), the gentleman
commencing on his left foot, the lady with her right. The foot
is raised rather high at the hop so as to give character to the
dance. The gentleman then takes his partner round the waist,
and they go round, hopping twice on each foot, a hop to each
beat of the bar. This occupies two bars of the melody ; the
gentleman starts the hop with his left foot, the lady with her
right. An air of variety may be imported to this dance by
performing the first eight bars with a good deal of animation,
and the second with smaller steps and less spring, treating the
132 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
dance as though it were a melody to be taken first forte and
One or two barn dances are enough for one evening, as they
are more tiring than the ordinary ball-room dances. Young
girls look charming doing the barn dance, and it is particularly
suitable to accordion-pleated skirts. The steps of the Military
Schottische danced in America were precisely similar to those
used in the barn dance, only that the dancers used always to
stamp their feet when they did the three straight steps forward,
to give the dance a military character.
There has been a great rage of late for fancy dances, and
many pretty movements have been transplanted from the stage
to the ball-room. Dancing is much more elaborate than
formerly, and a young lady is no longer contented with
proficiency in the ordinary ball-room dances, but prides herself
on executing some of those fanciful figures which have hitherto
been confined to the professional danseuse. The charming
dancing of Miss Letty Lind has inspired the amateur with the
ambition to imitate her, and ateliers, of the theatrical dancing-
masters have been besieged by Society ladies all eager to be
initiated in the mysteries of skirt-dancing. The graceful
movements of the skirt dance have been introduced with good
effect in many amateur theatricals, and the pas de deux of two
graceful sisters has made a pleasing feature in many a ball-
room. Classes have often been formed in private houses for the
study of the steps and movements, 'and the modern young lady
is as proud of her proficiency in skirt dancing as her grand-
mother was when she had mastered the minuet. Skirt dancing
has the best possible effect on deportment, and teaches girls to
be dainty and graceful in their movements.
The suppleness required for this dance cannot be acquired
without months of hard practice, but the time cannot be said to
be wasted, because the exercise is so beneficial to the figure.
The movements of the arms are very fatiguing to the beginners,
though not so much as in the Serpentine dance, where a
greater mass of drapery has to be managed. The skirt used in
SKIRT DANCING. 133
the Serpentine dance is thirty yards round the bottom, and
simply hung on to a yoke ; but fourteen yards round would be
sufficient for ordinary skirt dancing. Soft silk or crepe de chine
are the most suitable materials, and they are usually set in
accordean-pleats. The figures of the skirt dance are so
infinitely varied, that it would be impossible to describe them in
print. Sometimes they are danced in waltz -time, sometimes to
the music of a gavotte, and the attitudes and steps must vary
according to the individuality of the dancer. The skirts are
lightly held at either side, and gracefully manipulated in various
The movement in which the skirt is thrown over the head is
said to be derived from a national dance of the Welsh. Skirt
dancing might be described as a combination of gavotte and
waltz steps, with a number of graceful attitudes thrown ; the
first figure usually consists of a few gavotte steps, a waltz turn,
and curtesy, then repeating all three movements with the other
foot. A few pirouettes would now be made, and the dancer
would then strike a graceful attitude, balancing herself on one
foot lifting her skirt high above her head so as to make a
background for her face, and then slowly lowering the hand
which holds the drapery until it touches the floor. Next a few
glissades would be made to the side, followed probably by a
waltz-turn and a hop. The same figures would now be
executed with the left foot. The third figure would contain two
gavotte steps, a pirouette, and two curtesies, the fourth consist-
ing of a coupte, a baftement, and a waltz-turn. The last figure
is simply a repetition of the first, with the addition of a deep
curtesy at the end.
The steps will be easily learnt by those who are already
acquainted with the minuet and gavotte, though the power of
posing gracefully is not given to everybody, and a light supple
figure is an absolute necessity. The battcmcnt is the most
fatiguing step included in the dance ; the legs have to be raised
very high from the hip, and this is tiring, and requires a great
deal of practice. The couple is a spring, and the glissade is a
slide, and when these three -steps have been thoroughly
acquired, the dancer will find no difficulty in inventing figures.
134 THE BALL-ROOM GUIDE.
SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY.
At Christmas time, when nondescript parties are given, to
which people of widely differing ages are invited, it is customary
to conclude the evening with some simple dance, in which all
may take a part. Any country dance answers this purpose, but
the prime favourite is Sir Roger de Coverley, which has held its
own, in spite of the lapse of time and the changes of fashion,
since the beginning of the last century at the very least.
The whole company range themselves in two long lines down
the room, ladies on the left, gentlemen on the right ; partners
facing each other. At the commencement of the music the lady
at the top of her line, and the gentleman at the bottom of his,
advance to the centre of the room, clasp right hands, swing
quickly round, and return to places. The gentleman at top and
lady at bottom follow this example also, acting exactly in the
same manner. The first couple repeat t-he performance with the
left hand, the second couple following them. Top couple swing
round with both hands, the left doing the same. Top couple
then meet and go back again, and finally meet and curtesy,
each movement being copied by the second couple. Then the
top lady turns sharply off to the right, and the gentlemen to the
left, and the respective lines follow them to the end of the room
(much as in the fifth figure of the Lancers). On reaching
bottom of figure, top couple join hands and raise their arms,
forming an arch, under which all the rest of the couples pass
back to their own places, except the top couple, who remain
where they are at the bottom. The second top couple (now be-
come the top couple) now repeat these movements from the very
beginning lady at top of her line and gentleman at bottom of
his advance, and so on, until the original top couple have
worked their way back to their places at the top of the line, when
the dance is finished.
FRENCH TERMS USED IN DANCING.
French is the language of dancing, as it is also of cookery and
millinery, and it is impossible to give instructions concerning the
Terpsichorean art without using French words for the technical
terms. The following is a list of those most frequently in use :
FRENCH TERMS USED IN DANCING.
,, a ux coins
,, quatre en ligne
Ckaine Anglaist .
,, ,, double.
,, ,, demi .
,, des dames .
,, double .
Chaine (la grande)
C/iassez . . , .
Le grande rond
Le grande tour de rond .
La grande promenade .
Le moulinet .
. Set to partners.
. Set to corners.
. Set four in a line.
. Top and bottom couples right
. Double right and left.
. Half right and left.
. Ladies' chain.
. All the ladies commence the
chain at the same time.
. All the couples go round
the circle of the set, giving
right and left hands alternately
beginning with the right,
until all resume places. (See
last figure of Lancers).
, Move to right and left, or left to
. Lady passes in front of the
gentleman, and back to place.
. Gentleman advances alone.
. All the couples half-promenade.
. Back to back.
. A sliding step.
. All join hands, and advance and
. Join hands and dance round.
. All promenade round figure, and
back to places.
. Hands across.
. Ladies advance to centre, give
right hands, and retire.
. Opposite persons change places ;
retraversez, they cross back-
. Face to face, or the opposite
DINING in public must have been a terrible ordeal in the days of
our grandfathers. Modern dinner-table etiquette requires a cer-
tain amount of study, but the present rules and customs are sim-
plicity itself in comparison with those of sixty years ago.
In the first place there was the habit of " taking wine " a
custom compassed about with many minute observances, to
break one of which was to give certain offence. Directly the
soup was removed the guest who sat at the right hand of the
lady of the house had to request the honour of taking wine
with her, and this movement was the signal for the rest to
follow suit. If the principal guest were oblivious of his duty in
this respect the master of the house would select some lady.
However thirsty a guest might be, it would have been considered
absolutely rude for him to raise his glass to his lips (before the
removal of the cloth) unless it were to take wine with some one.
Even the shy little child who appeared at the end of the repast
was not allowed to eat his dessert until he had first succeeded in
catching the eye of each member of the company in succession,
and wished " very good health " to each in turn, accompanying
each sip of wine with a grave little bow.
In addition to the ceremony of taking wine came the ceremony
of refusing food ; every guest desiring to wait until all the rest
were served. If a plate were sent a person by the mistress of the
house, he was not supposed to take it without first offering it to
all his neighbours in turn. The person in favour of whom the
courtesy was shown, shocked at being exceeded in politeness, of
course declined it, and, according to an old writer of those days,
' a plate was often thus kept vibrating between two bowing
mandarins till its contents were cold, and the victims of ceremony
were deprived oi their dinner."
THE ART OF CARVING. 137
Add to this, that it was considered polite of the host to press
his guests to eat, and even to place things unasked upon their
plate in defiance of their protestations that they had dined and
one may imagine that dining in olden times cannot have been
altogether an unqualified pleasure.
At present we have changed all this. Ease of manner is the
modern ideal, just as observance of ceremony was the ancient one.
A person who did not accept the plate which was sent him would
be considered extremely tiresome, as he would be materially
hindering the progress of service, and affecting to know more
about precedence than the master of the house. In like manner
a host who pressed his guests to eat would be committing an
offence against good manners ; for it is to be presumed that a
person is the best judge of what he wishes to eat, and it is
disagreeable to have conversation interrupted by perpetual
references to the machinery of the meal. But although many
ceremonies are discarded, the etiquette of the table is still
important, and its correct observance is considered as the ulti-
mate test of good breeding. Persons new to society may
master its simpler forms, but dining is a greater trial. The rules
to be observed at table are numerous and minute, and none of
them can be violated without exposing the offenders to instant
For this latter reason, if for no other, the etiquette of the
dinner-table, as unfolded in former pages, would repay the
In giving a dinner party the great question is whom to invite.
There is nothing in which beginners fail so lamentably as in
the selection and assortment of their guests. The most perfect
arrangements for receiving company must fail if those invited are
hopelessly unsuited to one another. The effect of bringing
together an incongruous mass of people is certain and inevitable ;
nothing but failure can attend it. The aristocrat may not care to
be invited to meet the self-made man, and a business-man will
feel out of place in a purely literary circle. At the same time
there are certain people whom every one likes to meet, and it is
138 THE DINNER-TABLE.
impossible to lay down any rule in these cases which shall not
present an exception.
It is generally laid down that it is wrong to invite people of
widely dissimilar opinions, but who can tell whether the man
who looks at things from a different point of view to the majority
of those present may not play the part of an olive at the banquet?
A very good plan is to start from some central point, by
inviting all the guests with reference to the person in whose
honour the dinner is given. Another good method is to invite
people who have interests in common, and who are glad of an
opportunity to become acquainted. People with plenty to say
for themselves are the most desirable acquisitions at a dinner-
party, and the acme of perfection in this particular has been
defined as a circle in which there should be no mutes and no
The question of whom to invite being settled, that of how
many comes next on the list.
A gigantic dinner-party defeats the purposes of sociability,
because there is no possibility for general conversation. When
considering the desirability of how many to invite, it is impossible
to overlook Lord Chesterfield's celebrated maxim, " Not more
than the Muses, nor less than the Graces." Six or eight is an
agreeable number, and (with all possible deference to the shade
of Lord Chesterfield) it is possible to have a pleasant party with
as many as fourteen. The best conversation possible is to be
had at a.partie carrf where each member of the party is witty
and intelligent ; but we should be a long time getting through
our lists of acquaintances were we to confine our hospitality to
this particular form.
The name of both the lady and gentleman of the house
appears in the dinner-party invitation. It is a circumstance
worth remarking, because it forms the only occasion on which
the name of the host is inserted. All other invitations are sent
out in the name of the hostess only, but the master of the house
is always made a party to an invitation to dinner.
Invitations to formal dinners are usually sent out about three
weeks in advance, but a shorter notice may be given when the
dinner is an unpretentious one. In the first place the note is
written in the third person, and is answered in the same way.
THE ART OF CARVING. 139
"Mr. and Mrs. request the pleasure of Mr. and Mrs. 's
company at dinner on Wednesday, July th, at o'clock."
The answer would run as follows :
"Mr. and Mrs. have much pleasure in accepting Mr.
and Mrs. 's invitation for Wednesday, the th."
If it is necessary to decline the invitation the note assumes this
" Mr. and Mrs. regret that, owing to a previous engage-
ment, they are unable to accept Mr. and Mrs. 's kind invita-
tion for Wednesday, the th."
There is no exact rule to be given for the informal note.
A friendly letter, written in the first person, mentioning the hour
of the dinner, and perhaps the names of some of the invites,
is easily written. The guest replies in the same style, it being
an invariable rule in correspondence that an answer should
always be written in the same form as that adopted by the first
To secure the success of a dinner certain arrangements are
In the first place, it must be given in a comfortable and
appropriate room. We live in an age when a great amount of
attention is paid to art-decoration, and the gloomy dining-room
is now a thing of the past. We have gradually come to the con-
clusion that i "oom is not the natural accompaniment of dining,
and that in order to enjoy a comfortable meal there is no abso-
lute occasion to be seated in a room covered with crimson flock
paper (which goes black by night), or in view of a sideboard
which has all the appearance of a family vault. The Mahogany
Age is past, and a modern dining-room is rarely of such an
appearance that one's voice sinks to a whisper as one enters it.
Whether it is better to have the walls light or dark is a question
of taste, but it is generally considered that a deep-toned back-
ground throws up the sparkling beauty of the pure white
The fashion of table decorations is constantly changing, but it
appears as if the heavy silver tpergnes in which our fathers de-
140 THE DINNER-TABLE.
lighted are doomed to perpetual oblivion. Modern taste dislikes
anything massive and pretentious in the way of a centre-piece,
and prefers a style of decoration which allows one to see some-
thing of the faces of one's opposite neighbours. An airy trophy
of flowers rising apparently out of the tablecloth, a long bank
of moss studded with blossoms, choice roses scattered lightly
over the cloth without any attempt at uniformity these are more
suitable to modern taste than the huge trophies of silver
formerly considered correct.
When dinner is served a la Russe, a menu is indispensable.
Sometimes china slates are used for the purpose , sometimes the
menu is written on a card enriched with some fancy design. A
novelty in menus is a folding one, with the names of all the
guests written down each side of the flaps, exactly in the
order in which they sit. This invention is certainly a good one,
as it enables one to know who one's neighbours are, so that one
may avoid talking of any topics likely to be distasteful to them.
Every one who sits down to table will require to be provided
for in the following way : On the right of the space left for
the plate place two large knives, a silver knife for fish, and a
table-spoon for soup. On the left three large forks, and a
small one for fish. Extra knives and forks are provided for
the guests when they require them, but it is not usual to place
more than three knives (including the fish-knife) in the first in-
stance. A dessert-spoon and fork are placed before each guest
on an empty plate before the sweets are handed round.
The glasses are placed at the right-hand side of each place
they are generally three in number, being intended for cham-
pagne, claret, and sherry. As it is a great sign of ignorance
to drink one sort of wine from a glass intended for another, we
will describe the glasses most commonly in use.
Champagne and Moselle are usually drunk from a large cup-
shaped glass with a narrow stem. Occasionally very small thin
tumblers are used for the purpose.
Green glasses are used for hock and Chablis, and their colour
goes a good way towards enlivening the table. A rather large
glass is used for Burgundy and claret, a smaller and more
rounded one for port, and a small upright one for sherry.
Each guest will be provided with a table-napkin, folded in
THE ART OF CARVING. 14!
three, which in laying the table should be placed on the plate,
with the dinner-roll inside it.
There are many different methods of treating the dinner-
napkin, but it is impossible to give any idea of them in the short
space at command.*
Variety in wines is indispensable in large dinners, and the
taste for light wines which now prevails is constantly adding to
it. Sherry is the invariable accompaniment to soup, and either
Sauterne, Chablis, or hock, are applicable to fish. Champagne
should not make its appearance till the first entree is served, and
claret may be offered at the same time. Champagne is handed
round during the remainder of dinner, but never appears at des-
sert, being emphatically a dinner wine.
For dessert provide sherry and claret ; but port is no longer a
Hock, Champagne, Moselle, and Chablis are brought to table
in bottle ; port and sherry are decanted, claret and Burgundy
are handed round in glass claret-jugs. If liqueurs are given
they are handed round in small glasses, on a silver salver im-
mediately after the ices have gone round.
For dessert the following provision should be made : A des-
sert-plate with a silver knife and fork on it is placed before each
guest. In the centre of the plate is a glass finger-bowl on a
delicate lace d'oyley. If ices are to be given an ice-plate would
be placed between the dessert-plate and the finger-bowl, and
a gold or silver ice-spoon on the right-hand side. The first
set of wine glasses are taken away and fresh ones placed
one for sherry, and one for claret. The table-cloth is never
removed for dessert, but it is carefully cleared of all that
appertains to dinner. No butlers now spend hours daily in
polishing up the mahogany till it shines like a mirror, there
being no longer any occasion for its display. An attempt was
made a short time since to revive this ancient fashion by using
four cloths of fringed cre"pe-cloth, and placing them in such a
way as to leave a bare space in the centre of the table, just
sufficient to hold the decanters. The effect was rather good
when the table was black, as it gave additional brilliancy to the
sparkling glass. Perhaps the dark plush mats with which it has
* See Warne's " Model Cookery Book" on this subject.
142 THE DINNER TABLE.
lately been the fashion to adorn the centre of the table, may
be a sign that we have begun to feel a certain craving for the
dark background which our fathers found so efficacious for
showing up the tints of fruit.
Respecting the dinner itself, it would be beyond the limits of
this little work to specify what it should consist of, inasmuch as
to give the menu of a dinner at various seasons of the year
would occupy many pages.* But perhaps the best definition
ever given of \\hat a dinner-party should be, is this that it
should represent the host's style of living at Us best. There
is nothing snobbish in preparing for our friends greater deli-
cacies and finer wines than we are accustomed to procure for our
own use, but it is foolish to let the general style of the dinner
be quite out of accordance with our ordinary style of living.
The host should study to put before his guests as good a dinner
as the resources of his establishment permit, and in doing so he
should not strive to ape the manners of people owning, perhaps,
ten times his income.
If he entertain at table people who are much richer than him-
self, his wisest plan is to err rather on the side of plainness than
of show. No one is to be pitied if they cannot eat a simple
dinner where everything is good of its kind ; but badly cooked
entrees, with a long wait between each, are trying to the patience
of those who are accustomed to be well served.
THE ART OF CARVING.
Nothing detracts from the dignity of a host so much as
inefficient carving, and there are few things which make a guest
appear so small as to be unable to assist the hostess in manipu-
lating a joint.
In old times all the carving fell to the lot of the lady of the
house, and young ladies used to take lessons in carving, in
order that they might not be awkward at table. Lady Mary
Wortley Montague relates how she used to get her own dinner
in secret and alone about an hour before every one else, because
her time was so entirely taken up with carving during the meal
that it was a moral impossibility for her to get anything to eat
* Sec Warne's " Model Cookery."
THE ART OF CARVING. 143
The host was not supposed to carve at all in those days, his
duties merely consisting in seeing that the guests were served
with wine. Fortunately for the ladies of this century, a
different order of things prevails at present in fact, dinner
<i la. Kusse is becoming so much the fashion that there are some
grounds for fear that carving may be reckoned among the lost
Constant practice is the only road to good carving, and the
earlier the practice commences the more easily will proficiency
be attained. Boys on leaving school should always be requested
to help some dish beginning with something easy, such as a
ham or a tongue, and proceeding by degrees to matters of greater
With regard to carving, we may state in a few words that
there are only two ways namely, a right and a wrong one.
No treatise ever written on the subject could prove that there
were more ways than one of cutting a round of beef or carving
Our object in this work is to make everything as plain as
possible. The great drawback in the majority of the manuals
on carving is the elaboration and intricacy of the diagrams
illustrating the subject, which naturally tend to mystify and
mislead the would-be pupil. Our drawings are, therefore, quite
simple. For this reason we have left out the dishes usually
placed in such drawings, and have confined our dotted lines to
within the barest limits necessary for the elucidation of the text.
We must premise that in all cases the drawings of joints,
&c. , are placed before the reader in exactly the same position as
\f he were about to commence to carve them.
The first course at all dinners is invariably the soup, and
from that circumstance, as well as from the fact of its being the
easiest dish to preside over, we place it first in our remarks
upon carving. One ladleful of soup is generally sufficient for
each plate. If it is Julienne soup, or has any kind of vegetables
in it, pieces of meat or forcemeat balls, it is well to stir the
composition occasionally before serving, in order that each
guest may have a just proportion of liquid and solid.
We take the turbot as our example in this instance, as all
boiled flat fish may be served in the like manner ; therefore the
directions which we give are equally applicable to brill, large
soles, &c. &c. The best cuts are towards the middle of the
fish, and in turbot the fin is considered a great delicacy. The
best method for carving the fish is to cut from about the spot i,
right down to the tail of the fish, 2. Then make a cut across
from 5 to 4, and serve all this in slices, firstly from 3 to 4, and then
from 5 to 3, taking care to help a portion of the fin to those who
Salmon is usually sent up to table in the form given in our
engraving namely, a cut out of the middle of the fish. It is
very rarely served whole ; but should it be so, it would be well
to recollect that the finest part is next to the head. Carry
the knife from i to 2, and from 3 to 4. Then serve in slices of
about four or five inches in length. Recollect that the solid
and lean is from i to 2, and the softer and fatter part of the
fish from 3 to 4, so it would be advisable to help a just pro-
portion of each to every guest.
THE ART OF CARVING. 145
COD S HEAD AND SHOULDERS.
Commence carving this by cutting from i to 3 ; then cut down
to the bone at i, 2, and 3, 4. Help moderate-sized slices right
and left. The gelatinous parts and the sound are considered
delicacies ; the former are to be found about the neck, while the
latter may be obtained by introducing a spoon somewhe^
between the points 2 and 4
Mackerel is perhaps the simplest fish to carve of any which is
brought to table. Cut the head at i, and serve the entire side
of the fish if it should happen to be small. If it is large t
divide it at 2, and serve the whole of the tail as another
helping. The part nearest the head is considered the most
delicate portion of the fish. Every one has his own particular
fancy about roe, some choosing hard, some soft, while others
do not like it ; so it is impossible to lay down a rule for the
THE SIRLOIN OF BEEF.
The sirloin may be carved in two ways, either in long slices
from i to 2, by which means a due proportion of fat and lean
is served, or cut across the middle as at 3. The latter method
is apt to spoil the appearance of the noble joint. Should the
"under-side" be required, the joint should be turned over, and
slices cut across at 4. Do not forget to serve with each slice some
of the soft fat at 5.
KIBS OF BEEF.
Ribs of beef are carved in the same manner as the second
method mentioned above viz., across the joint. Occasionally
the bones are removed ; then it is customary to carve it in the
same way as a round of beef.
BRISKET OF BEEF.
A brisket of beef should be sliced in the direction of i, 2,
right down to the bone. The first slice must be cut thick, and
THE ART OF CARVING. 147
the rest as thin as possible. Softer fat is to be found under-
neath for those who prefer it.
The edge-bone or aitch-bone of beef should be carved in the
following manner : Cut a thick slice off the outside from i to 2,
then cut thin slices, gradually getting the joint to a level at the
line -i. to 5. It should be remembered that just at this point is
the best cut of the joint. In serving each slice, do not forget
to add to each plate some of the marrowy and solid fats, which
may be found respectively at 3 and 4.
THE ROUND OF BEEF.
This may be carved in a similar way to the above, care being
taken to cut the slices as thin as possible. Indeed, in carving
all joints, it would be well to recollect the saying of a certain
noble old bon vivant, " You can always tell a man's breeding
by his cutting beef thin and mutton thick."
SADDLE OF MUTTON.
The saddle of mutton is always a popular joint. Carve in the
following way : Slice across from i to 2, serving moderately
148 THE DINNER-TABLE.
thick slices, with a portion of fat from 3. Finish one side
always before commencing the other.
HAUNCH OF MUTTON.
In cutting a haunch of mutton, first run the knife along al
2, 4, for about three inches. Then cut thin slices from 3 to the
cross-line 2, 4, 5. The gravy will be found in copious supply in
the cavity at 4. In carving this joint always cut the slices
ROAST LEG OF MUTTON.
In carving a roast leg of mutton, always have the shank to
the left hand, as depicted in the above drawing. Place the fork
in at about 7, to hold it steady, and cut right down to the bone
in the direction of i, 2. The most juicy slices are to be
obtnined from the line i, 2, upwards towards 5, though some
people prefer the shank or knuckle. Fat may be found on the
ridges 5, 5, and should be cut in the direction ?, 6.
Should you desire to cut out what is called the "cramp-
bone," then cut down to the thigh-bone at the point 4, and after
passing the knife under the cramp-bone in the direction 4, 3,
it can easily be extricated.
THE ART OF CARVING.
BOILED LEG OF MUTTON.
A boiled leg of mutton is carved in the same manner as
SHOULDER OF MUTTON.
A shoulder of mutton requires some skill in carving. When
first cut it should be in the direction of i, 2, cutting right down
to the bone, causing the gravy to run into the dish. The best
fat may be found on the outer edge, and may be sliced off in the
direction of 5, 6. If there is a large company, after the bottom
part in the line i, 2, is finished, there are some very delicate
slices on each side of the ridge of the blade-bone in the lines
3, 4. The 7, 8, marks the direction of the edge of the blade-
bone, and cannot be cut across.
Some persons prefer the under side of the shoulder, as being
more full of gravy.
LOIN OF MUTTON.
This joint requires but little skill in carving, but it should
alv/ays be properly jointed by the butcher before being brought
to table ; there is nothing to do but to separate the meat into
chops, and help one of each all round.
A FORE-QUARTER OF LAMB.
The carving a fore-quarter of lamb must be commenced by
passing the knife under in the direction of 3, 7, 4, 5, in order to
separate the shoulder from the breast and ribs. When this is
I5 d THE DINNER-TABLE.
accomplished, the juice of a lemon, together with a little salt,
should be squeezed upon the part from whicli it was taken.
The gristly part may be separated from the ribs at the line
6, 7. The ribs are generally the most esteemed, and can easily
be separated one from the other by cutting in the direction of
the line i, 2. If any one prefers the gristly part, a piece may be
cut off in line 8, 9.
Should the fore-quarter run very large, the shoulder must be
placed in another dish, and carved in the same manner as a
shoulder of mutton.
LEG OF LAMB
is carved in the same manner as a leg of mutton.
LOIN OF LAMB
is carved in the same manner as loin of mutton, except that in
lamb the fat is more delicate, consequently a larger proportion
may be given to each guest.
LEG OF PORK.
A leg of pork, whether roasted or boiled, should be carved
across the middle, exactly like the ordinary way of cutting a
ham. If it is roasted, be sure to take care to give a due propor-
tion of stuffing and crackling to each plate.
When a sucking-pig is sent to table whole, the legs and
shoulders should first be separated from the carcase as at 3, 4, 5.
THE ART OF CARVING. 151
The choice part of a pig is about the neck, which may be cut off
at line 6, 7. The next best parts may be cut from the ribs,
which may be divided in line i, 2.
LOIN OF PORK
must be carved like a loin of mutton.
HAND OF PORK
may be treated in a similar manner to a shoulder of mutton.
Commence by cutting right along the cheek in the line 3, 2,
and several slices may be taken from this part. At the end
of the jaw-bone may be found the throat-sweetbread, which is
esteemed a great delicacy ; this may be found by cutting in
deeply at the line 3, 4.
Tongue and brains are usually served in a separate dish ; the
best part of the tongue is a slice close to the root.
152 THE DINNER-TABLE.
FILLET OF VEAL.
A fillet of veal is cut in the same manner as a round of beef.
Recollect that some people prefer the brown outside, and do not
forget to serve a portion of stuffing to each plate.
LOIN OF VEAL
is usually carved in the same way as a loin of mutton ; it should
be borne in mind, however, that the choice portions are the fat
and kidney underneath.
A GIGOT OF VEAL
is generally carved after the manner of a leg of mutton.
A SHOULDER OF VEAL
is served like a shoulder of mutton.
KNUCKLE OF VEAL,
A knuckle of veal is certainly not. one of the easiest joints to
carve, though, at first glance, it appears to be so. It should be
cut with a sort of semicircular sweep from i to 2. The bones
should be cut from 3 to 4. The fat, which is to be found at 4,
is greatly esteemed.
Perhaps the most difficult thing to carve is a roast fowl ;
indeed, a person who can accomplish this properly can soon
make himself a proficient in every other branch of the art.
The cut which we give here shows the fowl on its side, with a
leg, a wing, and a neck-bone taken off.
First detach the joints in the line i, 2, 4. Next cut off the
neck-bones by inserting the knife at 7, running it under the
broad part of the bone in the line 7, 2, then lifting it, and
THE ART OF CARVING.
breaking off the end of the shortest part of the bone. Then
divide the breast from the back by cutting through the ribs on
each side from the neck to the tail. Turn the back upwards,
fix the fork in firmly, and lay the edge of the knife in the line
2, 5, 3, press it down, raise the tail, and you will find it w'l
easily divide in the line 2, 5, 3.
Lastly, put the lower part of the back upwards with the head
towards you, and cut off the side-bones by forcing the knife
through in the line 5, 6.
X, Y, Z represent respectively a neck-bone, wing, and leg, in
the forms they ought to be when skilfully carved.
Boiled fowl is carved in a similar manner to the above. The
choicest parts are usually considered to be the wings and
breast. The legs of a boiled fowl are more tender than those
of a roasted one.
The goose should be placed with the neck end before you*
Cut three long slices from t, i. i, to 2, 2, 2, quite to the bone ;
154 THE DINNER-TABLE.
detach these slices from the bone, and proceed to take off the
leg by turning the bird on one side, putting the fork through the
small end of the leg-bone, and pressing it close to the body.
By this means, when the knife has entered at 4, the joint can
easily be raised. Pass the knife under the leg in the direction of
4, 5. If the leg still hangs at 5, turn it back with the fork, and
it will easily separate.
The leg being removed, the next matter is to take off the
wing. This is done by passing the fork through the pinion,
pressing it close to the body, and inserting the knife at the
notch 3, and passing it beneath the wing in the line 3, 4. It
requires a good deal of practice to be able to do this nicely.
You may now proceed to take off the leg and wing on the other
Having done this, you may proceed to cut off the part
between the lines 6, 5, 7 ; and the merrythought in the line 9, 8.
The other parts are taken off in a similar manner to those of the
The best parts of a goose are slices from the breast and the
fleshy part of the wing. The stuffing of sage and onions is
generally to be found just above the spot marked 7. This
should be obtained by means of a spoon inserted into the
interior of the bird, and a small portion served to each plate.
A GREEN GOOSE.
A green goose may be cut up like a duck. Only about a
couple of slices should be taken from the breast, aud then the
separated joints cut off in the ordinary manner.
A duck is served in a similar way to the preceding. The
wings and breast are considered the most delicious morsels.
Ducklings are usually cut down the middle lengthways. K
is not considered too much to give half a duckling to each
are served in a similar manner to the foregoing.
THE ART OF CARVING.
Roast turkey may be served in the same manner as a fowl,
excepting the breast. This is the best part, and many good
slices, which should be cut lengthways, may be obtained there-
from. These should be served with small portions of the
stuffing, and also sausages and forcemeat balls. It should be
borne in mind that the turkey has no merrythought.
A boiled turkey should be carved in a similar manner to a
HAUNCH OF VENISON.
A haunch of venison should be first cut across in the line
2, 3, i. Then turn the dish so as to have the end 4 towards you.
Insert the point of the knife at 3, and cut as deep as you can in
the direction 3, 4. You may now cut slices either to the right or
left of line 3, 4, remembering that the fat lies deeper between 4
and i ; whilst the best-flavoured slices will be found on the left
of the line 3, 4. ,
Do not cut the slices too thick or too thin. Serve a proper
proportion of fat with the lean, and a sufficient quantity of
This joint should be carved quickly, as it is quite spoiled if
not eaten when hot. It should be served on silver or metal
plates, which should be kept at the fire till wanted.
There are three ways of cutting a ham. One method is to
begin at the knuckle, on the line 4, 5, and cut thin slices,
gradually working up to the best part of the joint ; this is the
most economical way of carving it. Another plan is to cut in at
2, 3, and serve slices from either side ; whilst a third method is
to take out a small piece at i, and cut thin circular slices, thus
enlarging the cavity by degrees The advantage of this method
is that it preserves the gravy and keeps the joint moist ; it is, of
course, only practised when the ham is served hot.
The tongue should be cut nearly through at the line i, 2, and
slices served from right or left. Some people are particularly
partial to the fat and roots, which should be cut from 3 and 2.
The pheasant requires very skilful carving; we have been,
therefore, careful to give rather a more elaborate diagram than
usual, in order that the method of proceeding may be perfectly
Fix your fork in the breast at (he 'two dots marked o, and slice
in the lines i to 2. Then proceed to take off the leg either in the
THE ART OF CARVING.
direction 4, 5, or 2, 4 ; perhaps 4, 5, is preferable. Having
accomplished this, take off the wing at 3, 4 ; you may then take
off the leg and wing on the other side. Great care is requisite
in removing the wing : make a notch at i, for if you cut too
near the neck, as at 7, you will find the neck-bone in your way.
The merrythought must be taken off at 6, 7, by passing the
knife under it towards the neck. The remaining parts may be
carved in a similar manner to a roast fowl.
The choice portions of the pheasant are the breast and wings.
The partridge is cut up almost in the same manner as a
fowl. The wings must be taken off at the lines i, 2, and the
merrythought in the line 3, 4. The wings and breast are usually
regarded as the choicest parts ; but the tip of the wing is
158 THE DINNER-TABLE.
generally considered the most delicate portion in the whole
At hunting breakfasts and bachelors' parties, where the birds
are frequently served cold, it is not unusual to cut the bird in
half, and give half a partridge to each guest.
is carved in a similar manner to the above, whilst woodcocks,
snipes, quails, and other smaller birds, are generally cut in half.
Larks ate usually served on skewers of four to each guest.
The hare is usually dished up in the manner indicated in the
following drawing. This should be entirely cut up before any
portion is served. The proper way to commence is to cut a
couple of lines on each side of the animal, beginning at i and
ending at 2 ; a couple of slices may then be taken off on either
side. Next sever the legs and separate the shoulders along the
line marked 3, i, 4 ; then cut the back right through at the
lines marked 5, 6, 7, and cut the legs in two. The head must
then be divided, and the ears cut of, as the brains and ears are
liked by some people. Be careful to send round a due propor-
tion of stuffing with each plate.
Of late the custom of boning hares has been very prevalent ;
if this method be adopted, it saves an immense amount of
trouble to the carver.
Jugged hare is, of course, served as an ordinary hash or stew
Roasted and boiled rabbits may be carved in a similar manner
to the hare, but from the circumstance of their being so much
smaller, require but one line to be cut across the back.
MANY a fair damsel has owed Thomson A grudge for having
given utterance to the platitude concerning beauty unadorned.
To how many reprimands about dress has this remark been the
precursor ; for how much stinginess has it not furnished the
excuse ! And even if there be truth in the statement, it only
applies to perfect beauties not to those poor mortals who are
only endowed with an ordinary amount of good looks. Beauty
may wear an unbecoming hat or a tattered gown and come
triumphantly out of the ordeal, but the ordinary-looking girl
must pay attention to the affairs of the toilet if she would not
risk the reputation for such good looks as she possesses.
The Poet Laureate has hit a deeper truth, and one much more
in accordance with feminine fancy, when he says, " Let never
woman think, however fair, She is not fairer in new clothes than
old." For this saying he should have the warmest thanks of the
whole feminine world. We are certainly fairer in new clothes
than old, and charming in direct proportion as we pay a proper
attention to the arts of the toilet. Beauty may be able to dispense
with adventitious aids, but to those who stand on the narrow line
which separates rather good-looking from plain, attention to the
toilet is the only refuge which allows of their being placed
definitely in the former category.
THE LADY'S DRESSING-ROOM.
Freshness and daintiness should be the first attributes of a
lady's dressing-room, accompanied by that pleasing harmony of
colour which has such a soothing effect upon the nerves. White
wood furniture is the most suitable for a lady's room, and it
will keep its freshness perfectly if it is enamelled instead of
painted. The pattern of the wall-paper should be delicate and
unobtrusive, as a clearly defined pattern becomes an absolute
l6o THE TOILET.
pest in cases of illness. The hangings should be of some soft-
hued material, and so many good patterns may be found now
that no one has any excuse for selecting an ugly one. Care
should be taken to place the toilet-table in a good light, as
nothing is more trying to the temper than to look in the glass
and then not be able to see yourself.
A sofa is almost indispensable to comfort, and the room
should further be rendered habitable by the addition of a few
book-shelves and pictures. Too many ornaments are out of
place in a bedroom, as anything interfering with the neatness of
the apartment should be studiously avoided.
Plenty of space for hanging dresses is absolutely necessary, and
the locks of wardrobe doors should be always in good condition.
A long glass is a positive essential, and no woman can be
thoroughly well-dressed who does not possess the power of
seeing herself as others see her. In a well-furnished room the
doors of the wardrobe will probably be of glass, but if this is not
the case a long panel of glass must be placed between the
windows. The washstand should be of marble with a tiled
back, for both these things wash and wear for ever. A very
good invention lately brought out has been the covering the rims
at the bottom of the jug and basin , and the lids of the soap
dishes, with indiarubber. Noise is irritating to the nerves at all
times, and when sickness comes it is absolutely harmful.
No one should ever buy a bad looking-glass. Some mirrors
are extremely unbecoming. They distort the features, they ruin
the complexion, and give the beholder an exaggerated notion of
her own defects.
Such a mirror, like an ill-bred adviser, sends you away morti-
fied and distressed ; if you felt doubtful before, you feel depressed
now, and heartily wish you had never consulted it
The use of the bath is of the highest importance, cleanliness
being a great aid to the preservation of beauty. Bathing main-
tains the softness of the skin, the lustre of the complexion, the
pliancy of the limbs and the buoyancy of the spirits.
Sea-bathing tends to invigorate the whole nervous system.
It has also the important advantage over fresh water bathing,
that persons seldom take cold after it. As an agent for promoting
THE COMPLEXION. l6l
and preserving the softness and delicacy of the skin, and the
bright hues of the complexion, it is, however, inferior to the
warm or tepid bath. It is better not to bathe in the sea until
two hours after a meal, and the circulation should be promoted
by friction and the aid of a good brisk walk.
The quality of water has a very important effect upon the
complexion. Hard water tends to make the skin coarse, and
its cleansing properties are not so great as those of soft water.
The temperature of the bath must always depend on the
individual constitution. Cold baths are suitable to the robust,
but cannot be taken carelessly by persons with defective circu-
lation. The tepid bath is the least dangerous to health, and
one spongeful of cold water thrown down the spine just before
leaving the bath will act as a beneficial shock to the nerves and
ilso as a preventive against taking cold.
Care must be taken after any description of cold douche to
at once restore the circulation through the medium of friction.
Cold baths tend to invigorate the system, but do little towards
cleansing the skin. No one can preserve a clean skin by the
use of cold baths only, and the same remark applies to baths of
sea-water or sea-salt. Apart from the invigorating effect of the
cold water in daily use, the friction occasioned by the subsequent
rubbing with the towel is very beneficial.
Shower balhs cannot be recommended for use indiscrimi-
nately, as the shock caused by the sudden fall of water operates
most injuriously on some constitutions.
Milk baths and baths impregnated with perfumes need not
be mentioned, except as absurdities in which some persons have
believed and indulged, but never with any beneficial effect.
Nothing equals plenty of pure soft water.
Nothing is more charming than a good complexion, and it
may almost be said to constitute a beauty in itself. No other
charms seem complete without it, and the most perfect features
lose their effect when accompanied by an ugly skin. All the
poets have attested their admiration for the ' ' white and red "
by "Nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on," and women
in all times have coveted its possession.
The Wars of the Roses may be said to be still g'oing on in the
1 62 THE TOILET.
present day, with regard to which is the fairer the blonde or
brunette. It is, after all, purely a matter of taste whether the
vivid white and pink of the blonde is preferable to the clear
olive skin of the brune. One thing is quite certain, that each
is best in its place. Nature is the best judge of the matter,
having had rather a long experience in matching shades, and
there could hardly be a greater mistake than to interfere with
her arrangement in anger that she should not have distributed
to the wall-flower the same tints as she has bestowed on the
A beautiful complexion is the most desirable possession, a
joy to every eye which sees it, and a suggestion of health as
well as of fairness. Its value is so great that in all times women
have endeavoured to emulate the possession of this charm
through the application of powders and washes, producing
much the same resemblance to the original thing as an artificial
flower does to a real one. Both complexions- and flowers can
be imitated with wonderful accuracy, and look very well as
long as they are alone, but place them beside the genuine
article and the difference in texture is apparent.
The test of a good complexion is a side-light. A made-up
face looks well enough with the light behind it ; but wait till
the light falls on it sideways, and you will miss the delicacy of
texture which belongs to a natural skin. The powder fills up
the pores, and presents a flat hard surface where Nature
designed somewhat of the same soft and downy texture with
which she has endowed the peach.
A good complexion is a gift, but care must be taken to pre-
serve its delicacy as long as possible.
The state of the complexion depends almost entirely on the
care taken of the health ; it needs early hours, careful diet,
abstention from stimulants, plenty of bathing and regular
exercise an item which is too often neglected by ladies, who
sometimes do not care to leave the house for days together,
unless they have what they call an "object." Neither visiting
nor shopping, nor running about the house, answers the purpose
of a good brisk walk. Open air is a necessity, and supplies
that change of thought and scene which are so highly beneficial
both to body and mind.
CHOICE OF COLOURS FOR DRESS. 103
Diet has also its effect upon the complexion, and deserves a
certain amount of consideration. Salt meat is detrimental to the
skin, but fruit and vegetables (especially watercresses, lettuces
and grapes) are decidedly beneficial.
Air and light are the great skin-doctors, and worth all the
cosmetics which were ever invented. Sunlight is not so great an
enemy to the complexion as is supposed, an insufficient ex-
posure to light causing the skin to assume a pale and sickly hue
It is needful, however, to draw a line between an insufficient
quantity of light, and that amount of exposure to the rays of the
sun in summer, which, when long -continued, is very injurious to
the skin, causing it to thicken, to tan, and even to blister. Any
kind of drying wind, whether hot or cold, is apt to be bad
for the skin ; so, when the wind is in the east, ladies who aie
careful of their complexions will do well to "bide at hame."
CHOICE OF COLOURS FOR DRESS.
The complexion is the principal point to consider when choos-
ing the colours of a dress. Taste is required in arranging a
bouquet, for the fairest flowers may appear to lose their beauty
when placed in juxtaposition with an inharmonious neighbour
and the same care must be exercised with regard to the dress, if
we value its effect upon personal appearance. Free will is limited
in dress as well as in actions, and our choice of colours is
practically decided for us before we are out of our cradles.
The choice of a blonde is more limited than that of a brunette,
though the novel discoveries which are continually being made
with regard to colour greatly serve to enlarge the number of
/uies which can be worn. Every shade of blue is becoming to a
blonde, from the palest sky-blue to the darkest porcelain.
Heliotrope also is the blonde's portion, lilac making a goodly
harmony with golden hair. Scarlet has been greatly worn by
fair-haired people of late years, but the effect is somewhat
bizarre. Brown belongs to the fair-haired woman, but grey is a
trying colour, unless the wearer has a bright complexion.
Yellow does not set her off to much advantage; pink is allow-
able, and dark green nearly always successful.
Black is exceedingly becoming to fair people. It sets off their
164 THE TOILET.
complexions to the greatest possible advantage, and gives them
an air of distinction. Le noir esf siflattant pour les blondes.
Many colours are permissible to the blonde, but the auburn-
haired woman has to be exceedingly careful. Auburn hair is
beautiful in itself, and generally accompanies a complexion of
brilliant fairness. It is only when associated with harsh colours
that the effect is bad. Whoever first started the theory that
bright blue was becoming to red-haired people has much to
answer for, for the effect of a bright blue hair-ribbon on a head
of auburn hair is crude in the extreme. No blue looks well
with red hair except a deep indigo (such as we see connected
with it in Mr. Burne-Jones' pictures), and the pale shade which
has a good deal of green in it similar to the colour of a duck's
egg. Red is generally avoided by people with auburn hair, but
in many eases it can be worn with good effect. If the red is
deeper than the colour of the hair, the excess of brilliancy is
reduced. Pink is forbidden to red-haired people, but yellow is
decidedly harmonious. Sage-green is becoming as long as there
is not any yellow in the complexion. Warm browns are highly
suitable, and cream-colour is also good. An auburn-haired
woman should wear glowing colours and rich materials, so as
to produce a certain richness of effect. The red hair must not be
plastered down and hidden, but arranged so as to be the key-
note in the picture.
Scarlet and pink are the prerogatives of brunettes, and orange
lights up the beauty of a dark woman as with a torch. Yellow,
brown, and pale blue are also suitable, but black is not advis-
able for an olive complexion. To say that black is becoming to
every one, is a popular error ; it is only suitable when the com-
plexion is fair.
The brntie aux yeux bleu can dress either in accordance with
her hair or her eyes, wearing blonde or brunette colours as the
fancy takes her. Pale insignificant-looking women, who have
very little colour in hair or complexion, have some difficulty in
choosing suitable colours for their dresses. Vivid hues will
extinguish them, and dark colours will make them look still
more insignificant. The best thing they can do is to adhere
to delicate hues and neutral tints, and by this means, a colour-
less-looking person may create a style of her own, and impart
a certain air of refinement and distinction to her appearance
which is by no means devoid of charm.
A mixture of colours is always becoming, and Madame de
Pompadour was inspired by a particularly happy thought when
she invented the combination which bears her name. Pink and
blue, or pink and green, suit almost any one ; and many people
can wear a colour in combination with others when they could
not wear it alone.
As women grow older they need to be more careful with regard
to colour. Nothing can be more mistaken than for a woman
in middle life to attempt to repeat the successes of her youth.
Because a bright blue dress became Angelina at seventeen, that
is no reason why she should continue to wear the same thing
when she is forty. As we grow older softer tints are more
becoming to us, and pansies and wallflowers will suit us better
than the lilies and roses of youth.
" It is the fairest skin that freckles," says the proverb, so that
a freckle may be fairly called the hall-mark of beauty, but it
is a hall-mark that most people would rather be without.
Innumerable recipes have been prepared for the removal of
freckles, but this is certainly one of the cases in which prevention
is better than cure.
Buttermilk is said to be an excellent cure for freckles, and to
act as a preventive as well. Lemon-juice applied frequently will
wear them away in time, and it is still more efficacious when
mixed with glycerine. One part of good Jamaica rum to two of
lemon-juice or weak vinegar, and a few drops of glycerine, is also
a good lotion for the purpose.
Honey-water is another favourite remedy for the removal of
freckles. It is made by mixing some fine honey with about
twice its weight of clean dry sand, the mixture being subjected
to dry distillation. The process must be carefully conducted
and watched, and the receiver changed if the heat rises too
high. An American author states that finely-powdered salt-
petre is an effectual remedy for freckles. The finger should be
moistened with water and dipped into the powder, and then
applied carefully to the spot where the freckle exists.
1 66 THE TOILET.
Vanity alone is responsible for a desire to get rid of freckles ;
but sun-burn is not only disfiguring, but painful. When the
skin gets tanned, it is extremely sore and tender, and some-
times exfoliation occurs if no remedies are applied.
Sun-burn proceeds from exposing the complexion to the rays
of the morning sun, and is particularly apt to occur at the sea-
side. The skin becomes coarse and blistered, the cheek loses
its soft variety of colouring, and the complexion assumes a hue
closely resembling that of beetroot. Cold water should be
avoided when the skin is in this condition, but bathing the face
with very hot water serves to draw out the heat of the skin. The
face should be anointed with a glycerine lotion (made by
diluting this article with six times its bulk of pure water), and
afterwards wiped with a soft towel.
Buttermilk is an excellent remedy for sun-burn. Bathing the
face with ordinary milk is also a great relief. When the sun-
burn is very severe, the face should be covered with a paste made
of oatmeal and milk. The mixture should be applied the last
thing at night, and washed off with warm water in the morn-
ing. Soap or cold cream used in the same way have been found
to act both as preventive and cure.
Making up the face is a custom which is peculiar to no par-
ticular age or country. Dyes and washes are to be found in
every country in Europe, and there is no single nation of which
we have any record which has not practised the cosmetic arts.
At the present day, nobody owns to rouging, but it is largely
practised in society. The greatest offenders are not, as one
might fancy, cither the very pretty or the very plain. It is
generally the people who just fall short of beauty who fly to this
illegitimate means of embellishment those who fail to grasp the
golden apple. They are just sufficiently good- looking to wish
to be more so, and they think that a slight touch of colour to the
cheek, or a line or two more on the eyebrows, would make the
desired difference in their appearance. They begin with a little
dash of colour, and gradually increase the amount, and they get
MAKING UP. 167
so used to the sight of the rouge, that they forget that every one
else is not so oblivious. By-and-by, the face becomes yellow,
the pores of the skin grow coarse, and what was begun for
choice has to be continued as a necessity. Rouging has been
compared to dram-drinking it is only the first step that costs.
But the worst result of making up is its bad effect upon the
character. Worse than losing a delicate skin or a flower-like
colour is to lose the honest glance of the eye, the frank sound of
the voice. The woman who rouges feels that she is false, and
gradually her voice becomes artificial to correspond ; In the
days when painting was universal, it is possible that it did not
exercise this effect upon the character ; but that it has that effect
at present no one who studies character can doubt.
Carmine is the most dangerous of all the colouring matters
used for the face, because it is of a mineral nature. No other
colour approaches it for brilliancy, but its effect upon the skin
is deleterious in the extreme. Rouge is comparatively harmless,
because it is a vegetable substance. It is made of safflower the
flowers of a plant known to botanists as dyer's saffron, which
grows in Spain, Egypt, and the Levant. Pearl-white is far
more dangerous than rouge, as it is made of bismuth. Its use
is most injurious to the skin, rendering it yellow and leather-
like, and inducing paralysis if long continued. The powdered
magnesia so much used by American ladies for giving a white
appearance to the neck, is said to cause glandular swellings in
process of time.
Powdered starch or oatmeal are the safest for the face,
and good violet-powder may be added to the list. But to
use any powder continuously is harmful to the skin, prevent-
ing perspiration, clogging up the pores, and making the com-
plexion dull and rough. In fact, when we recall all the ills
which painted flesh is heir to, and remember the manifold
martyrs who have fallen in the cause (including one of the
beautiful Miss Gunnings, who </mf from it), when we remember
all this, we feel inclined to give to those who are intending to
make up Mr. Punch's celebrated advice to those about to
l68 THE TOILET.
Beautiful hair is the most coveted charm of all the gifts of
Nature. Luxuriant hair has been admired in every stage of
civilization, from the time when the Assyrians combed and oiled
their jet black locks to the days when the Venetian women sat
in their balconies in the sun, that its rays might turn their tresses
to the brilliant colour admired by the painters.
Nature has dowered every woman with the hair which suits her
best, yet very few women exist who do not wish their tresses
were of a different shade. Fancy dress balls will always continue,
says a witty French writer, for the blondes will never give up the
opportunity of seeing how they would have looked with dark
hair, and the brunettes like to study the effect of fair locks with
their dark eyes and eyebrows.
Fair-haired people have two advantages. In the first place
they look younger for a longer time than their neighbours, for it
is difficult to disassociate the idea of childishness from flaxen
ringlets and a blonde complexion. In the second place fair hair
has a particularly dressy effect in the evening, so that a fair
woman can look ' ' dressed " with less trouble than a dark one.
The sun awakes the most exquisite colours in fair hair, and a
fair-haired head shows to greater advantage than a dark one at
a theatre. Taking all things into consideration, we can scarcely
be surprised at the popularity which has been acquired by
A red-haired girl must accept the situation, and nerve herself
to support the fierce glare which beats upon the auburn head.
Let her turn her distinctiveness of appearance to account, let
her consider her hair as a central point to dress up to, wearing
such soft, deep and harmonious colours as shall rather display
than hide it. Let her brush her hair out to the light, and wear it
in short curls, so that it shall surround her face like an aureole ;
let her dress and hair be modelled, as far as possible, on an old
Venetian picture. To brush it down smoothly, or darken it with
grease, or bleach it with soda, is a great mistake ; it takes away
all the character of the hair, and robs its owner of all the effect
her appearance might have produced.
Dark hair gives a great deal of character to the face, and a
THE COIFFURE. 169
dark-haired beauty seldom looks insipid. Quite black hair is
rtecidedly effective, but it has the disadvantage of growing grey
sooner than any other colour.
The size of the head and the shape of the face have both their
effect in influencing the style of the coiffure, but it is ultimately
decided by the shape of the nose.
The woman who owns a nez retrousst has her path in life
mapped out for her. She must never be serious nor solemn,
dignity of deportment will only make her ridiculous. For her
there will be no smooth bands nor stately draperies, but gay,
coquettish frocks, and floating ends of ribbon. A certain amount
of disorder will be rather becoming than otherwise, and the severe
and classical style will be always out of the question. Soft frizzy
curls are suitable to the tip-tilted nose, but smooth bands and
meekly parted hair would fail to carry out the prevailing idea of
The woman with the Grecian nose may wear her hair in a
classic style, curls over the forehead, fillets across the head, and
the hair combed up to the top of the head, or rolled round at the
nape of the neck. An aquiline nose demands a careful coiffure ;
the hair must not be strained too tightly back, so as to place the
nose too much in relief, nor must it be too flat on the top of the
head. A large nose needs a high coiffure, and it is better not to
cover up too much of the forehead.
The fringe over the forehead suits nearly all faces, but particu-
larly those where the brow recedes. The hair a 1'Imperatrice
suits very few, needing a well-shaped forehead and perfect eye-
brows. Lightness is gained by dressing the hair high on the top
of the head ; softness by placing it low on the nape of the neck.
A woman must choose whichever style suits her best ; and she
alone knows whether she wishes to cultivate the gay and sprightly
in appearance or the gentle and demure.
THE CARE OF THE HAIR.
The skin of the head is particularly delicate ; therefore especial
care should be taken in brushing the hair and in keeping the
scalo as clean as possible.
170 THE TOILET.
The hair should be carefully separated, that the head itself
may be well brushed, as by doing so the scurf is removed, and
that is most essential, as not only is it unpleasant and unsightly,
but, if suffered to remain, it becomes saturated with perspiration,
and tends to weaken the roots of the hair, causing it in time to
In brushing or combing begin at the extreme end, and in
combing, hold the portion of hair just above that through which
the comb is passing firmly between the first and second fingers,
so that, if it is entangled, it may drag from that point and not
from the roots. The finest head of hair may be spoiled by the
practice of plunging the comb into it high up, and dragging it
in a reckless manner. Short, loose, broken hairs are thus created,
and often become very troublesome.
Opinions are greatly divided as to the efficacy of oil or washes
for the hair. A white concrete oil pertains naturally to the
covering of the human head, but some persons have it in more
abundance than others. Those whose hair is glossy and shining
do not need any nostrum ; but when the hair is hard, poor, and
dry, artificial lubrication is necessary.
The beautiful gloss we admire so much in the hair is due to
the oily secretions of certain minute glands. Its absence may be
treated by friction, vigorous brushing, and oils and washes. A
good wash for this purpose is five parts of glycerine to fifty parts
When one particular piece of hair becomes dry, stiff, and
obstinate, and refuses to walk in the way in which it should go,
pains should be taken to subdue and train it, and it should by no
means be allowed to have its wicked will. A teaspoonful of
olive oil should be rubbed in night and morning, and the lock
not cut off for then it grows coarser and harder but forcibly
trained, and made to keep its place, the desired end being
attained by vigorous brushing, and keeping down with elastic or
with bandoline, applied from the roots downwards.
Beware of letting the hair grow too long, as the points are apt
to weaken and split. It is well to have it cut once a month.
Vinegar and water forms a good wash for the roots of the hair;
a solution of ammonia is often used with good effect for the
same purpose. Glycerine, diluted with rose-water^ may be also
THE GROWTH OF THE HAIR. 17!
recommended, and any preparation of rosemary forms an agree-
able and highly cleansing wash.
Baldness, whether entire or partial, is a serious disfigurement,
and the sooner it is taken in hand the better. As soon as the
parting begins to widen, some curative course of treatment
should be commenced. As long as there is any appearance of
down on the head, the case is open to hope, but once a bare
shining skin appears, it is useless to try any remedies. The test
for discovering whether baldness is hopeless or not is to" apply
friction to the surface. If this fails to produce redness, the case
is hopeless, and the sooner the redness appears the more speedy
will be the cure.
Sir Erasmus Wilson gave the following receipt to prevent the
hair falling off :
Vinegar of cantharides, half-an-ounce ; eau-de-cologne, one
ounce ; rose-water, one ounce. The scalp should be brushed
until it becomes red, and the lotion should then be applied to the
roots of the hair twice a day.
THE GROWTH OF THE HAIR.
One of the most frequent causes of impoverishment of the hair
is the want of air at the roots. People mourn over the dete-
rioration of their hair, without ever reflecting how much pains
they take to prevent its growth. The modern coiffure does not
give the hair much chance to improve itself. It is dragged up to
the top of the head, tied up tightly, covered with false hair,
frizzled with hot irons, and maltreated in every possible way. Air
is necessary to the growth of the hair, and whatever stops the
circulation of air to the roots stops the growth. Frisettes are
the worst offenders in this respect, as they impede the air, and
make the head hot. Hair should never be tightly tied, because
it strains it ; and it is a good thing to let it flow freely over the
shoulders when practicable, so as to give it an entire rest.
It is said that there would be far more beautiful hair in the
world if there were more cleanliness. The hair should be washed
thoroughly at least once a month, and freed from every particle
of dust. Soap cleanses the hair nicely, but is a great deal of
trouble to wash off. Soda is extremely cleansing, but bleaches
the hair if used too often. Ammonia is the most convenient
172 THE TOILET.
thing to use for the purpose, two teaspoonfuls of liquid ammonia
being put to a quart of boiling water, and stirred until a lather
is formed. Rub the head all over with this mixture, and then
wash out all the lather in a basin full of warm water. A douche
of cold water should be used last of all, the hair well rubbed
with a towel, and allowed to hang over the shoulders till it is
thoroughly dry. If you put up hair when it is damp it is liable
to become rotten.
Sunshine must not be omitted in the list of things which are
beneficial to the hair. It is a powerful agent for bringing out
the colour. It is good to go about in the country without a hat
or bonnet, as long as the sun is not sufficiently hot to cause
DYEING THE HAIR.
There are several objections to dyeing the hair. One is, that it
is impossible to give the hair a tint which harmonizes with the
complexion. Dyed hair is always dead and lifeless in appear-
ance, and lacks the beautiful glint and gloss which gives such
an appearance of animation to hair in . its natural condition.
But a still more important point is that almost all dyes have a
tendency to injure the hair.
Bismuth, lead, and copper, are all capable of darkening the
hair, but they are all injurious in their effect upon the health.
Silver, quicklime, and sulphate of ammonia are the principal
ingredients of ordinary dyes, but they all stain the skin, and are
dangerous to use. Atrophy of the scalp, baldness, and even
local paralysis have often been caused by hair-dyes which contain
either lead or bismuth.
It will be seen from the above account that it is better to keep
clear of dyes altogether, but if people are determined on trying
the experiment they must see that the dyes they use are of a per-
fectly harmless nature.
The methods adopted to darken the hair should be as much
as possible in accordance with the process employed by Nature,
through study of the chemical constitution of the hair. Dark
hair contains sulp./ur and traces of iron, black hair containing
the largest proportion of this metal. These substances permeate
the whole structure of the dark hair so long as its vitality lasts. The
most rational system of darkening the hair is that which restores
THE TEETH. 173
to it the property it has lost. Iron has somewhat the effect of a
tonic on the various tissues, and is not injurious to the skin.
To gradually darken the hair on these principles it will be
found sufficient to occasionally employ a weak solution of any of
the milder salts of iron as a hair-wash either the sulphate,
acetate, lactate or protiodide. Dissolve in water, with a few drops
of spirit, oil of rosemary and glycerine. First wash the head,
then moisten the whole surface of the head and hair with the
wash, and then brush it well in. The hair will become darker in
process of time, without any injurious effects upon the skin.
Walnut juice is harmless to the hair, but it stains the skin. It
may be procured at any perfumers under the name of walnut
crayon or walnut water.
Turning dark hair light is a very troublesome business, as the
hair has first to be bleached before the dying operations can be
commenced. Peroxide of hydrogen, sulphurous acid, or bisulphide
of magnesia are the most effective applications for bleaching the
hair. Arsenic, in the shape of orpiment or realgar, is the founda-
tion of most golden hair dyes, and numerous cases of poisoning
have resulted from its use. Cadmium is harmless, and makes
the hair quite as bright as the more dangerous applications.
Chloride of gold is a good dye for eyebrows, eyelashes,
moustaches, &c., producing a pretty shade of brown. It must
be used very cautiously, for it dyes the skin if allowed to touch
it. No dye is efficacious on the top of grease or oil ; the
hair must therefore be carefully washed before making the
Good teeth exert both a direct and indirect influence on the
appearance. The teeth are of the greatest service in promoting
the health by assisting mastication : it will therefore be seen
that the beautiful and useful go hand-in-hand here, as in nearly
every instance of physical beauty which we are accustomed to
Twin rows of pearls gleaning from ruby lips, which enclose
them like a jewel-case, only allowing them to be seen in order
to impart more radiance to the sweetness of a smile these are
possessions which give an added grace to a beautiful mouth.
174 THE TOILET.
But beautiful teeth are not a fixed quality ; they are sadly liable
to change and decay, and their possessors should take every care
to keep them in good condition.
The teeth should be brushed night and morning, and the
operation should be performed as thoroughly as possible. Some
people direct all their attention to the front teeth, because they
are the only ones visible, but the back teeth should come in for an
equal amount of consideration, as well as every part of the upper
and under teeth, the inner as well as the outer sides, and the
tooth-brush should be passed up and down as well as across.
Cold water should be used for cleaning the teeth, as it acts
upon the gums like a tonic. When there is any local pain,
tepid water may be employed, but the temperature should be
gradually lowered till cold water can be used again. The tooth-
brush should not be too hard, for fear of injuring the gums, and
the teeth should never be brushed too violently.
It is a good plan to shake a little of the tooth powder on to a
piece of paper, and to use it from this instead of from the box.
If the wet tooth-brush is placed in the box it makes the powder
get damp and cake together. The brush should always be well
rinsed and shaken after use ; it should be wiped thoroughly dry
on a towel before it is laid aside.
The simplest tooth powders are the best. Never use any
powder or paste of which you do not know the ingredients.
Camphorated chalk gives the teeth a white appearance, and the
camphor is useful for destroying the incrustation on the back of
the teeth, popularly known as tartar. This substance is formed
of the remains of animalculae compactly united into one mass by
chemical decomposition. This quickly becomes so solid that
some powerful agent is needed to disperse it. Camphor is one
of the best remedies for the purpose, and Castile soap is said to
be unrivalled in its effects upon the animalculae referred to.
Charcoal is the best dentifrice possible, whether made of wood
or burnt bread. That from the heaviest woods is said to
be the best. The slight grittiness of the charcoal is beneficial
in cleaning the teeth, whilst the powder contains no injurious
Ripe strawberries, rubbed on the teeth with the tooth-brush,
are said to be one of the best dentifrices known. They possess
singular powers of whitening the teeth, and are effectual for
removing tartar. The pulp of an orange is supposed to have some-
thing of the same effect. The fruit is sometimes rubbed on with
the fingers, but this plan is not so good, as the teeth require the
benefit of friction.
The care of the teeth includes the avoidance of any beverages
or articles of food which are likely to injure them. Hot drinks
and acids are particularly bad for the teeth, and all medicine
containing acids or iron. When such articles are taken, the
teeth should be cleaned as soon afterwards as possible. No
tooth-powders should be used which contain gritty or irritating
substances. The teeth should never be over- taxed, or exerted
on hard, gritty matter, neither should they be employed in biting
any substances which are very thin and slender. Biting cotton
is particularly injurious to the teeth, because the cutting edges
of the teeth are brought so close as to act upon one another.
Whole-meal bread is good for the teeth, as it contains plenty
of bone-making material. It is said that children who are
brought up on brown bread always have good teeth. The idea
that sugar injures the teeth may be classed amongst popular
errors ; this assertion being disproved by the splendid teeth of
the negroes employed in the sugar plantations.
The propriety of visiting a dentist directly we have the tooth-
ache is one of those things which we can all see more easily for
others than for ourselves. We picture to ourselves the high rlighl
of steps which lead to the dentist's door ; the well-kept brass
plate, whose brightness accentuates the hideous calling of the
occupant of the house ; the dreadful period of waiting in the
ante-room, and finally the chamber of horrors itself. All these
things are visible to the eye of the imagination, and the sufferer
loses courage the longer he contemplates them.
To avoid the visit to the dentist is only prolonging the agony,
since to the contemplation of that door-plate the sufferer must
come. Modern dentistry has made such enormous strides, how-
ever, that the infliction of pain is greatly modified, whilst the
means of affording relief are much increased. "A stitch in
I7<5 THE TOILET.
time " is of great importance with regard to the teeth, and decay
may be arrested if attended to at a sufficiently early stage.
Toothache may result from so many different causes, that it is
impossible to lay down any general remedy for it. It may be
occasioned by decay or inflammation, or the pain may be
neuralgic, or there may be other causes.
Relief in cases of decay may sometimes be attained by the
application of a few drops of creosote or carbolic acid, saturating
a particle of cotton wool, and placed inside the cavity.
When there is inflammation, relief is sometimes gained by
applying camphorated chloroform ; this often succeeds when
laudanum and similar applications have entirely failed.
Neuralgia can only be attacked by means of doses of quinine.
It often assails those whose teeth are perfectly sound, and it is
always to be distinguished from the fact that the paroxysms of
pain occur at regular intervals.
The breath is occasionally affected by the teeth, and this is a
very distressing disorder. The teeth should be brushed night
and morning, and the addition of a few drops of essence of
camphor to the water employed will be found highly serviceable.
Plenty of fruit is said to be an efficacious remedy, and liquorice
is said not only to purify the breath, but to form a potent remedy
against the effects of indigestion.
An ugly foot may be concealed, but a hand is always observable.
Hands are used in greeting and parting, and are always more
or less en evidence. Nothing is more unsightly than an ill-
kept hand, and it is only fit that a member which is brought so
prominently forward should receive all possible care.
A small hand is considered a beauty, but shape is more
important than size. The hand should be of exactly the same
length as the face, measuring from the point of the chin to
the top of the forehead. The fingers should taper towards the
points, and the crescent of the nails should be visible. The
wrist should be small and round, and the palm a decided pink.
Add to this a well-shaped arm, with a dimple in place of an
elbow, and you have a combination which is graceful enough to
make a plain woman pleasing.
CARE OF THE HANDS. 177
There is a great deal of character about hands. There is the
listless hand of the lazy woman, whose fingers can hold nothing
deftly, and the capable looking hands of the housewife which
put everything into its right place with neat little pats and
touches. There is the clever hand of the artist, beautiful as the
images he creates, the nervous hand of the musician, without
a bit of superfluous flesh between the fingers. Selfishness shows
itself directly in the hands in the prominent thumb and grasping
Long fingers are a sign of refinement. A short stubby hand
argues a lack of sensibility. A small thin thumb denotes weak-
ness of character ; the thumb should stand up boldly in front
of the fingers, like a general commanding an army. Obstinacy
is said to be revealed by the thumb curving backwards. The
thin palm betokens the ascetic, whilst the thick hand is a sure
sign of a strong coarse nature. The self-indulgent hand is to be
seen both in man and in woman who does not know its
characteristic points, its brilliant purity of colour, untouched
by any sign of labour, its perfect shape, only spoilt by the
fingers being a shade too short? The hand is a tell-tale
member, and reveals all the character which the face tries to
CARE OF THE HANDS.
A beautiful hand is the gift of Nature, but a well-kept hand
can be possessed by every one. A lady is known by her
hands, and to neglect them is a sign either of idleness or low
breeding. Cleanliness is the first consideration, but whiteness
and smoothness are also of great importance. Rain-water is
the best for washing the hands, as it cleanses them with the
use of very little soap. Extremes of temperature should be
avoided, tepid water being better than either very hot or very
cold. Fruit or ink stains are best removed by lemon -juice or
vinegar ; and lemon-juice makes the hands soft, and imparts
a most agreeable sensation to the skin.
The application of a few drops of glycerine to the hands, after
washing and wiping them, renders the skin soft, white, and
supple. The best time to apply it is just before retiring to rest,
as the glycerine has a longer time to permeate the skin.
178 THE TOILET.
Washing the hands in hot milk is said to make them extremely
white and delicate.
Chilblains on the hands are a great misfortune, as they are not
only painful but unsightly. A good cure for chilblains is the
Make a mixture consisting of a fluid-ounce of tincture of cap-
sicum, and a fluid-ounce of tincture of opium. Sew the fingers
in linen bandages, and dip them in the mixture twice or thrice
Another cure for chilblains is to rub into them twice a day as
much spirits of turpentine as they can absorb. This remedy
only applies to chilblains that are still unbroken.
Chaps on the hands are very difficult to get rid of. When
once the skin is injured by the cold it is very hard to cure. The
best remedies are the use of warm gloves out-of-doors, and
mittens indoors, and the application of glycerine, cold cream, or
any simple kind of oil directly after the hands have been washed
and dried. Prevention consists in taking plenty of exercise
to promote the circulation, being careful not to expose the hands
unnecessarily to the weather, and not dabbling in the water too
long. But the most important point of all is to be careful about
drying them. Two towels should always be used for the purpose,
the hands being finally polished with a handkerchief.
Sunburnt hands may be washed in lime-water or lemonade.
Some ladies have tried to make their hands white by sleeping
in gloves. It is a very unhealthy practice, as it retards per-
Warts are very unsightly, and are difficult to get rid of. Acetic
acid or hartshorn are two of the best cures, as (being colourless")
they do not stain the fingers. Caustic is one of the usual reme-
dies, but it makes the wart still more apparent whilst the curative
process is proceeding. Better than all is bluestone, but it re-
quires to be used with assiduity. Warts used to be attributed to
witchcraft, because the faculty have never found an adequate
reason for their appearance. A lengthy list of charms used to be
recommended to the sufferers ; amongst them was to take as
many stones from the roadside as they had warts, and to drop
them at a cross-road without looking behind. A still more trying
ordeal was rubbing the warts with a piece of raw meat which
CARE OF THE NAILS. 179
you had first stolen a process involving so much wear and tear
of mind to a sensitive person that even the loss of a wart might
be considered dear at the price.
THE CARE OF THE NAILS.
The nails should be cut about once in ten days, but oftener if
they grow sufficiently long to require it. The ends should nevet
be long, there being just a neat little margin of white below the
pink. Once a day the scarf skin should be very gently pressed
down with an ivory presser, to prevent the margin from adhering
to the surface of the nail, which is a fruitful source of pain and
discomfort. This is best done after washing and wiping the
hands, as the skin is then in a soft condition.
Do not clean the nails with anything but a nail brush. If
they are kept pretty short they ought not to require any other
method of cleansing. Cleaning them in any other manner tends
to injure the nail, and enlarges the space at the top.
Biting the nails is a terrible habit, and one which is extremely
difficult to cure. It completely spoils their shape, making them
jagged and deformed. It is said to be the sign of a nervous,
restless temperament, of bad temper, or of an unhappy state
of mind. As the author of "Talks on the Toilet" wittily
remarks, this habit is one of those curious employments, the
charm of which cannot be understood by outsiders. It is to
be presumed that it is soothing to its practitioners, but whatever
solace they derive from it has to be paid very dearly for, in its
effect on the tips of their fingers.
. A well-shaped nail should show something of the delicate pink
which we see in sea-shells. In shape it should resemble a filbert,
and what is called the half-moon at its base should be well
developed. The nails should receive daily attention, and care
must be taken to preserve them from injury. Anything which
tends to scrape the surface tends to make them dull and
"A beautiful foot is one which is small in proportion to the
stature, with the instep high and arched. The waist, or por-
l8o THE TOILET.
tion under the instep, is hollowed and well raised above the
level of the sole, with the toes regular and well developed ;
the heel narrow and non-protruding, and its general outline
long, slender, and graceful. A very small foot, possessing these
proportions, is considered the acme of beauty."* We cannot
all have such beautiful feet as figure in the above description ;
but if we have unbeautiful feet we must bestow additional pains
upon their toilet. Boots make a great difference in the aspect of
the feet, making the clumsy foot look neat, and the pretty one
bewitching. " Your boots are your feet ! " says a great authority
on dress ; and there is a certain amount of truth in the state-
Owners of large feet should never be tempted into wearing
highly-ornamented shoes. Fancy buckles must not come near
them, and rows of white stitching must be rigorously eschewed.
A boot with no toe-cap is becoming to a small and well-shaped
foot, as it reveals the outline ; but a toe-cap is necessary for a
large foot, as it serves to break up the lines and diminish the
apparent size. Shiny kid or patent leather has the effect of
making the foot look small. An Oxford shoe is very becoming,
and would make even an ugly foot look well. People with large
feet should be very careful about the cleanliness of their chassure,
as a muddy boot greatly increases the apparent size of the
The feet should be washed carefully every day in warm water,
with plenty of soap, and rubbed with a ball of sandstone, which
is a very useful article for toilet purposes. Friction should
be used in drying the feet, as it promotes the skin to healthy
After the bath is the time for cutting the nails, as they are
softer and more pliant after having been immersed in water.
People who walk much are frequently afflicted with blisters,
and many are the plans adopted for their prevention. Some
soap their socks, some pour spirits in their shoes, others rub
their feet with glycerine. The great point, however, is to have
easy, well-fitting boots.
We have referred briefly to chilblains on the hands ; those
* See " The Toilet and Cosmetic Arts." By A. Cooley.
CARE OF THE FEET. l8l
which appear on the feet are of a similar species. To avoid them
it is necessary to observe three rules ; i. Avoid getting the feet
wet ; if they become so, change at the earliest opportunity.
2. Wear warm stockings, also warm clothing altogether, so
that the circulation is well kept up. 3. Never under any cir-
cumstances "toast" your feet before the fire, especially if you
are very cold. Frequent bathing of the feet in a strong solution
of alum is useful in preventing the coming of chilblains.
On the first sign of any appearance of chilblains it will be well
to rub them carefully with warm spirits of rosemary, to which
a little turpentine has been added. Then a piece of lint, soaked
in camphorated spirits, opodeldoc, or camphor liniment, may be
applied and retained on the part.
Should the chilblain break, it may be dressed twice daily with
a plaister made of the following ointment : One ounce of hog's
lard, one ounce of beeswax, and half an ounce of oil of turpen-
tine ; melt these and mix them thoroughly, spread on leather,
and apply immediately.
The toe-nails do not grow so fast as the finger-nails, but they
should be looked after and trimmed at least once a fortnight.
The toe-nails, on account of their being so confined, are much
more subject to irregularity of growth than the finger-nails.
If the nail has a tendency to grow into the quick, the feet should
be bathed in hot water ; pieces of lint may then be introduced
beneath the parts with an inward tendency, and the top of the
nail scraped longitudinally. In due time the nail will probably
assume its proper course.
Corns are the result of undue pressure and friction ; they can
never be cured as long as the boot which caused them is persisted
in. The best treatment for hard corns is the same as that for
warts viz. , to pare the hard and dry skin from the tops, and
then touch them with the smallest possible drop of acetic acid.
Care must be taken that the acid does not stray on to the neigh-
bouring skin, as that would cause inflammation. Soft corns are
best treated by a little soap-cerate, spread on a piece of lint,
renewed daily. Rubbing them with lunar caustic, or strong
vinegar every other day, is an effectual method of removing
ACKNOWLEDGING presents, 33
After breakfast, wedding, 88
Bouquets, wedding, 82
Bowing to acquaintances, 2 ;
Breakfast, wedding, 88
Afternoon At Homes, 5
after the, 94
At Home, arrangement of
Breaking off engagement, 74
room for, 5
Bride, the, 81
Bridesmaids, the, 77
choice of, 78
dress of, 78
party, dress for, 4
toilet for, 14
CALF'S-HEAD, to carve, 151
Arrangements for a ball, 103
Art of carving, 143
Care of the hands, 177
Asking to dance, 108
of the nails, 179
Cinderella dances, 1 1 1
At Home days, 8
after wedding, 98
Awkwardness at table, 54
Choice of colours for dress, 163
Ball, arrangements for, 103
invitations to, 102
music for, 104
sortie du bal t 106
with accessories, 129
Ball-room chaperones, 103
choice of, 104
DANCE, afternoon, 15
asking to, 107
Dances, ball-room, w2
etiquette of, 107
hostess's place, 102
Bangle engagement, 72
Barn dance, the, 131
Dancing, etiquette of, 109
Dating a letter, 51
Bath, the, 160
Dinner a la Russe, 25
Beef, to carve, 146, 147
Behaviour in the street, 29
Best man at wedding, 80
duties of, 80
dress for, 3
etiquette of, 2025
Dinners, invitations to, n
Gentlemen walking, 47
Gloves, 3, 39
Dress, afternoon, 3
Good manners, 37
afternoon parties, 4
Goose, to carve, 153
Gratuities to servants, 33
for calls, 13
Green goose, to carve, 153
for country, 3
Grouse, to carve, 158
Growth of hair, 171
for garden parties, 17
HAIR, brushing the, 170
care of the, 39, 169
dyeing the, 172
growth of the, 171
gentleman's wedding, 82
washes for the, 170, 171
Hand, the, 176
at weddings, 87
a good, 176
of pork, to carve, 151
Hands, care of the, 177
Duck, to roast, 154
chilblains on, 178
Duty dance, 107
Dyeing the hair, 172
stains, to remove, 177
EDGEBONE of beef, to carve, 147
the girl, 71
Engagement bangle, 72
breaking an, 72
Hotel for honeymoon, 97
Hours for calling, 8
Etiquette of walking, riding, and
Evening receptions, 18
IMPORTANCE of good manners, 37
In church, 84
FACE the 161
Fancy balls, 109
Fashions, certain, 40
Fish, to carve, 152, 153
Fowls, to carve, 153
Introductions, 6 10
letters of, 43
Invitations, general, 45
to dinner, 137
French terms used in dancing, 134
bridegroom's dress, 82
notes of, ii
to wedding, 83
Fruit, how to eat, 24
LADY'S conversation, 17
GARDEN parties, 15
Gentlemen, appearance of, 39
at concerts, 55
at garden parties, 17
at dinner-table, 52
Lamb, to carve fore-quarter, 150
at picnics, 58
public meetings, 57
staying with friends, 60
Letters of introduction, 41
MAKING UP, 166
Marriage, by banns, 74
by license, 74
various forms of, 74
Meetings, public, 57
Music for ball, 104
Musical At Homes, 14
Mutton, to carve, 147
leg, boiled, 149
Notes of invitation, ti
OFFER of marriage, 71
Oil for hair, 176
PAPA, asking, 68
Parties, afternoon, 14
Preparing the trousseau, 75
Presentation at Court, 34
Private balls, 102
Proper seasons for weddings, 73
Public balls, 100
QUADRILLES (first set), 113
RABBIT, how to carve, 158
Rejection of offer, 68
SALMON, to carve, 144
Scotch reel, 123
Servants' gratuities, 33
Sir Roger de Coverley, 134
effects of bath on, 162
treatment of, 163
Skirt dancing, 132
Staying with friends, 60
Sunday dress, 3
TABLE arrangements, 139
Teeth, the bread best for, 175
how often cleaned, 174
strawberries good for teeth,
Tongue, to carve, 156
remedies for, 176
Treatment of the hair, 169
Trousseau, the, 74
Turkey, to carve, 155
VARIOUS forms of marriage, 74
Veal, to carve, 152
Venison, to carve, 155
Waltz cotillon, 123
Washes for the face, 165, 166
Wedding, a double, 92
after the, 94
dress for bride, 81
for widow, 93
etiquette of, 64
invitations to, 83
proper seasons for, 73